Not long

I have been bemoaning the fact that I have felt bored lately but also lacking a little bit of motivation to do anything. I do have the occasional mood swings though I am happy to say it is only me who is affected. It just happens. Anyway with the prospect of fair weather once more I made up my mind to get up early on Wednesday morning to do a small job in the garden. Whenever I work in the garden I find one thing always leads to another and I have to discipline myself to restrict what I do. However on Wednesday morning that restriction was imposed upon me and in a way I was glad of that. For quite a long time now the raised bed that stands between the two greenhouses has been in need of repair. The top layer of bricks at the end were loose and they needed to be removed and then relaid. That was the work I wanted to do and so after breakfast I was out there in my overalls doing it…….

As you can see the rear layer of bricks, that is those on the left in the picture, are one brick higher than the rest. That was intentional when the bed was originally constructed to prevent spillage between the bed and the greenhouse. Normal access to the bed and whatever is growing in it is from the right-hand-side where the space between the bed and the other greenhouse is greater. At the moment the bed has nothing growing in it except  weeds. Whilst I was relaying the bricks, only eight of them had been loose, I disturbed many woodlice and they are the reason we don’t have strawberries growing there now. Last year they spoiled so much of the fruit by burrowing into it there was little left for us! I may decide to grow potatoes in the bed later as we haven’t grown potatoes there for a couple of years. By the time I had finished the work it was beginning to get too hot in the bright sunshine. I had been shielded from the sun when working on the bed but now it was beginning to swing around and the bed would soon be in full sunshine. Before I decided to stop work I wanted to tidy up the leaves that had accumulated on the other side of the large greenhouse and around the Mound at the other end of the garden. After sweeping up the leaves it was too hot to do much else so I left any other jobs for another day.

Shirley Anne

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Problems

Again on Wednesday I was busy during the morning and up until one-thirty working on the Plot taking advantage of the warm, even hot weather. The only drawback was the humidity which was rather high and it made working in overalls pretty uncomfortable. Now and then a breeze would blow but it made little difference. The plan for the day was to lay the top of the three steps having laid the hard-core and concrete on Tuesday and also to decide what I would be doing about the surrounding walls. Before I did anything else I sorted out what old bricks I had with which to work. The twelve new bricks left over from building the flowerbed wouldn’t be suitable as they didn’t match the bricks in the old walls. Part of the old buried wall would have to be demolished anyway and the bricks removed would just about give me enough with what I had already to rebuild the walls. I mixed enough mortar with which to lay the final step and spread it out over the prepared concrete. I then had to manoeuvre the paving slab up onto the second step and on to the two bricks I had placed there to make it easier to ease the slab down into position, Did I say ease? You can only lower such a weight so far before gravity takes hold and it slops down onto the wet mortar. Not having anyone to assist me I have to devise alternative ways to move heavy objects around. Once the slab was on the mortar it was exceedingly easy to slide it about and tamp it down until it was in the desired position. It was then that I noticed that the rear edge of the slab was not exactly parallel with the end wall of the flowerbed but I knew that would be the case. The reason being the wall at the pathway had not been built parallel to the main garden wall which separates us from our neighbours property. So although by build was parallel to the wall it could never be parallel to the wall at the pathway. The only solution would be to rebuild that small wall but it simply doesn’t justify doing it. I plan to fill in the space at the rear of the top step with a fine concrete anyway so the discrepancy, small as it is, won’t be noticeable. That was the first problem. I will insert the picture here so you can see.plot-24     The right-hand-side small wall alongside the lower two steps gave me the most challenging problem because the pathway wall at right angles to it is the one which isn’t parallel to everything else and consequently the right angle abutment wasn’t parallel with the steps. I had to knock most of it down and rebuild it but in doing so I had to make the front edge slightly wider in order to get it aligned with the steps. I call it an unavoidable manipulation of an original cock-up. I mention here again that I didn’t build the original wall. The opposite small wall on the left of the steps presented me with a different problem as I had to demolish part of the double-brick buried structure to make use of the extra bricks but someone had topped that wall with a very strong concrete and it looked as though they had used concrete instead of mortar in places. I managed to do both walls as you can see. The next problems are rearing their heads as I move along with the project. One is how to align the paving slabs in a reasonable way to make it presentable but I can see I will need to fill in a lot of spaces with fine concrete to make that possible. The other smaller problem is being able to fill in behind that pathway wall on the right which adjoins the patio wall. I have decided to use mainly concrete to do it. My next task will be to level the ground in preparation for laying the other paving slabs. I have nine left but I think I may have to purchase a few more.

Shirley Anne

Back on the job

I had not worked on the Plot for some days but was determined to get something done on Tuesday when the weather made a change for the better. The forecast for the following few days looked promising too so I hoped to make the most of them. I had to take my van in on Tuesday morning to have a fault on the lighting circuits repaired but the repair shop didn’t open until nine o’clock and I had to wait a while. It was almost ten o’clock before I returned home. I walked the distance as it wasn’t too far away. It meant a late start for my project work but soon I was in my overalls and getting organized. I had put everything away after I had last worked on the job which was just as well because of the heavy rain we had in the interim. I spent about three hours mixing mortar and laying bricks. Not having a helping hand made the work tiring for I had to do everything myself. I laid about nine bricks to finish the outer walls and then began to build the inner wall on one side. This is how far I got..Plot 11

I have almost completed the right-hand-side now and have also started building the inner wall at the front (out of sight in this picture). Part of the left hand inner side wall was built last week but hopefully I will get to finish it tomorrow, Wednesday as I write. I may have to find some more bricks to be able to complete the inner walls though I haven’t done a brick count yet to verify that. Hopefully I will be able to use some of the old second-hand bricks we have lying around if it comes to their need. I did no more work in the afternoon having finished tidying up at one-thirty to have lunch. I was also waiting for a call from the repair shop letting me know the repair had been done.

Shirley Anne

Out of the blocks and on track

The Ladder
Image via Wikipedia

After the debacle on Monday we are still no closer to having our roller door fitted. The ball, as they say, is in the other persons court but I am optimistic it will get done soon. So most of Monday was spent elsewhere for me doing jobs away from home. I lay awake for the third time on Tuesday but finally got out of bed and downstairs by 09.30. By ten o’clock I was busy getting ou the ladder and tools ready to install the extract fans grill for the new wet room. Ordinarily this would be a straight-forward task but its position on the wall made access difficult being too close to the window for positioning the ladder and too far to be able to work from on top of the garage roof. The ladder was the safest option but even then it had to be securely tied because of the angle being a little steeper than it would normally be. This was due to the fact that it was in a narrow passageway. I used my little grinder to cut the brick and mortar but even so it was hard going. The bricks are called ‘Stock bricks’ made in the latter part of the 19th century (the house was built in 1877) and are very hard indeed. Then I had to drill the bricks for the fixing holes and almost wore out the new drill bit as the bricks were so hard. The otherwise simple job took me two hours if we take the time for setting up and clearing away into account but at least it got done. I went indoors and channeled out the plaster ready for installing the electrical wiring. So I am on track now and hopefully much more progress will be made now. E and I were thinking of a trip into Liverpool one day this week but our eldest son asked if we might like to dine out with he and his wife and their little daughter on Friday. We have accepted of course and Liverpool will have to wait until another day. As I write this on Tuesday evening I have no work scheduled and if I don’t get any I shall carry on working at home. I’ll have to see what happens. It looks like we are in for some fine weather which would be a handy thing if I could do some work in the garden. I still have to dig out the roots and balls of those trees and shrubs but at the moment it seems unlikely that I’ll get the chance.

Shirley Anne