Up early on a wet and windy August Thursday morning ready to venture out for a walk. One banana later I was outside in the weather. Though it was wet and windy it was warm, though when in the wind it felt that much cooler. I ate breakfast on my return home because it was still early enough to do that. On some occasions I skip breakfast if I am late getting back home and have an early lunch instead. E was still sitting at the breakfast table when I returned. She seldom asks how far I walked but I usually tell her anyway. It had been a short walk of just over four miles but it felt as if I had walked twice the distance because of the wind. On the outward journey I had taken a more sheltered route in the built-up areas through the town but on my return leg I walked along the promenade which is totally exposed to the west. The wind was blowing from the south-west and therefore directly in my face. I could have taken the coastal road instead as it would have made little difference. Between the promenade and the coastal road a quarter-mile away there is almost nothing of height, lake and gardens is all. I shudder to think what it would have been like for anyone out running but there weren’t any runners to be seen. Fair weather runners? I think not for I never used to deliberately run in the wind in exposed places either. I had work to do in the afternoon and the weather was to change by then, that is it would stop raining. I have been building the column for the gate at the side of the house in the rear garden and the weather has been fine whilst doing it. This is how far I got with it the day before…(centre in both pictures)
I gave up on the idea of working on the column in the afternoon for two reasons, one I was feeling tired and two it was still very windy though the rain had stopped. At the side of the house where the work is being carried out it was very windy indeed with gusts of around 35 mph, far too uncomfortable to be working in especially as there is no hurry to finish the job. Hopefully though by the time you read this it will be completed.
I arose very early on Wednesday morning and after breakfast I was outside just before eight o’clock fully dressed in my overalls and ready to work. There was a bit of a chill in the air and everywhere was damp because of the high humidity. About an hour or two after I began to work I had to return indoors to remove some of the clothing I was wearing beneath the overalls as I became uncomfortable in the high humidity. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday I had decided to dig out the remaining soil behind the small wall where I had earlier begun to fill in behind with concrete. I found some spare wood sheets in the cellar that I could use for shuttering and set them in place ready for filling behind with concrete on Wednesday. I had not been able to do any other work in the Plot on Tuesday as you will have read in yesterday’s post. So the first thing I did on Wednesday morning was to mix some heavy duty concrete. Two mixer loads would just about do it and I had very little left over. Even so, that didn’t go to waste as I used it elsewhere. I poured it in behind the shuttering (see middle right in picture). I switched from mixing the heavy duty concrete to one using granite dust or granno for I was using it to fill in between the paving slabs. Even though I had mixed two full mixer loads there wasn’t enough to do all of the work but by that time I was beginning to get very tired. I would need to clean up the area later when the concrete had hardened. I stopped working at just a little after one o’clock but then had to tidy everything away. It was just as well that I couldn’t finish all the work I had intended to do because I needed to plan what I was going to do in the area around the new steps. I made those plans a little later in the afternoon but to do it I would need some more old bricks. Now there are some old bricks in the area behind the other garage but many of them are covered in either concrete or hard mortar. I would have to see if there was enough of them that I could reclaim to do the work, though I could manage with fewer if I had to. At this stage I wasn’t sure what I would concentrate on doing the following day but I wanted to do as much as I could while the weather was good. I have yet to start work on the right-hand-side of the flowerbed but that work is mainly laying paving slabs and filling in with concrete.
It was a funny week, a bit like a sandwich week, a week where my electrical work was done at each end and where my domestic project was done mostly in the middle. Friday though was a bit of a sandwich day itself. In the morning I had an electrical job and later in the day another one and in between I worked on my project, redesigning the Plot. With September’s arrival came more rain so I had to plan my outside work accordingly. The week has been dedicated mainly to the construction of steps and on Friday I had to mix and lay some concrete for the second of the steps having done the first step on previous days. It was important that I got the concrete laid as early as possible in order to give it time to set in case I wanted to finish the step on Saturday. So off I went to the first electrical job and was back home before ten o’clock when I set about doing the concrete. It was whilst I was doing that when I got the request to do the other electrical job which I arranged to do after lunch. Having done the concrete I had to cover the area with some plywood sheets because rain had been forecast late on Friday and into Saturday morning. It actually arrived around 9 o’clock in the morning and carried on for the afternoon. Ordinary concrete will not set properly if it doesn’t get the chance to dry out first. Once set I could lay the paving slab on top on a cushion of mortar the following day. Rain however would continue to fall until the afternoon according to the forecast so if I wanted to lay the slab it would have to be late in the afternoon. I have taken every opportunity possible to plod on with the work but it is slow progress. That doesn’t really matter as I have no deadline to meet and the enjoyment I get is from doing the work itself and not in rushing and pushing it along. For anyone not familiar with building and construction and what is entailed in carrying out such work you would be forgiven for not knowing how hard it can be. In my posts it may seem that everything is quite simple and easy and perhaps I have been taking too long doing the work but I assure you it is very taxing. What surprises me is the fact I am still able to do it! It looks as though this week may be warmer and brighter at least for a few days so I will try to make the most of it.
As I write this on Thursday afternoon the guys who were fixing the roof problems and the chimney stack, well one of the chimney stacks as there are three of them, have informed me that they have finished. I phoned the scaffolding company to let them know and the boss told me they would call tomorrow, Friday, to dismantle it and take it off site. At last I thought, I would have my house back but as I was putting the van in the garage I noticed one corner of the roof had been letting in water and the wooden roof is beginning to rot. The supporting joists don’t seem to be affected but part of the roof sheeting will have to be replaced and then the whole roof in that area will need resurfacing with bitumen. I think the real problem is where that bitumen sheeting meets the brick wall. Aside from that it also needs to come over the brick because at the moment it lies on top of it and out of sight from the driveway. Water has seeped beneath it and it has lifted the bitumen under the two stone blocks I placed there to hold it down some time ago. You can see them on the right-hand-side on top of the brick parapet in this picture taken recently.The leak is in the corner on the inside of the garage above and in front of the van.
Anyway that part isn’t the main problem as far as I can tell. I think the main leak is just on the other side of that parapet where it joins the side wall. It means I will need the services of Es nephew once again if he’ll do it. When will it all end? At least this work is at low-level and scaffolding won’t be needed. I could probably do the woodwork repair but I would still require a professional to do the bitumen sheet. Maybe I will need to employ both. Anyway as I write this I am expecting E’s nephew to call around to see it.
Apart from changing the radiator valves and some minor touching up of paint work E and I have no more to do in the bedroom as far as decorating is concerned. As I had no electrical work scheduled on Thursday I took the opportunity to finish what little work that was left to do and especially in the afternoon whilst E was out at the shops. The room could have been completed much sooner but as there was no reason to get it done quickly and as I hold down an electrical service business I haven’t always been available. Added to that we have had building repairs going on too and have had to cater to the guys doing that work. By Wednesday evening most of the work was completed but there remains for some leadwork repairs to be done as I write this on Thursday evening. It may get done on Friday but knowing E’s nephew it isn’t likely, we’ll see. All the ridge tiles have been removed and re-bedded with new mortar and that took some time to do for the tiles are massive. They are Y-shaped and are fitted upside down. I am guessing they weigh at least 5 or 6 kilograms apiece, maybe more and there are a lot of them up there. Anyway nobody arrived on Thursday because of the intermittent rain.
Here are some more pictures of the bedroom……
In the last picture you can see where I have painted the coving in the same colour as the lower part of the walls. All we need now is the carpet and bed and the room will be ready for use.
Broom cupboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For those of you not too familiar with the English language the above phrase ‘Well I never‘ is often used as an expression of surprise for an unusual situation or occurrence that a person may experience. It is a light-hearted way of showing unbelief in the actions of another person. ‘Did you hear what so-and-so did the other day? Oh, well I never, now there’s a surprise’. It was a famous saying often used by the English comedian Frankie Howard in comedy films in which he appeared. On Tuesday morning I drove across to another town to install a light and its switch in a small broom cupboard space under a stairway for an old lady living there. Fortunately there was a power outlet nearby from which I could wire the circuit, through a fused outlet of course! Anyway that sort of work isn’t unusual in the least, many people want a light installing in such spaces. I hadn’t asked the lady why she wanted a light there because without the light the cupboard would otherwise be dark inside. However she volunteered the information. She told me that sometimes when she was downstairs she felt the need to go urgently to the toilet so she had decided to buy a commode and put it inside the cupboard for such emergencies. The cupboard was too small in which to site a toilet and wash basin and besides which it was remote from a water supply and a drain. A commode seemed the obvious choice but as the room was dark she thought it best to have a light installed. She need not have told me anything of course as it made no difference to what I was doing. I thought to myself ‘Well I never, I’ve never seen a cupboard under a stair being used for a commode but there’s always a first time for everything I suppose.’ As I drove back home at noon I was half-expecting to see E’s nephew or one of his crew working on the front steps he has altered for us at my request. The small retaining wall needs a coat of render and the steps need an acid clean. The weather has prevented anything being done over the last couple of weeks. At the time of writing this on Tuesday it appears we have a whole week of dry and sunny weather ahead so there should be no excuse for not getting the work finished. No-one was there but soon after lunch E received a call from her nephew telling her he would come by and fill in the now obsolete fireplace in the bedroom we are refurbishing with building blocks and mortar. He arrived soon after and did that work and at the same time removed all the building rubbish that had been left after the rear garden wall was partly rebuilt a couple of weeks ago. He also removed the old carpet we had taken out of the bedroom. It was such a lovely day on Tuesday that I actually spent a few minutes sitting out on the patio in the warm sunshine. Everything is springing back to life and the cold weather is slowly leaving us.