Overpowering

Wednesday morning saw me doing a spot of painting in the utility room I’m engaged in refurbishing. I began by painting the wall against which the next cabinet will stand, the same wall or side of the room I was concentrating on as I work around the room little by little. Once that was done I gave the floor beneath it a coat of the chlorinated rubber floor paint I had used elsewhere on other projects in the cellar (see older posts).

Eventually the whole floor will be painted as I move around the room. I can only work on sections of the room at a time because of the furniture (mostly freezers) in there. The parts of the floor beneath the new cabinets will only be painted once of course for there is no need for another coat when it will be hidden. In the picture above there will be the washing machine, another cabinet and a freezer. The patch you see couldn’t be painted until the following day because the cement I had put there to fill a hole hadn’t yet dried completely. Painting the walls doesn’t require wearing a mask as it is only a vinyl emulsion but the mask was necessary when painting the floor. The fumes given off with the chlorinated rubber paint are overpowering and possibly a health hazard if a mask isn’t worn. The fumes linger for hours so we keep the door down to the cellar closed until they subside. Later in the day I hoped to do more work down there but only if the fumes had dissipated, if not there would be plenty of work to do in the garden! 

Shirley Anne

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France

Up and about at my now usual early start but I had to wait until it was light enough to allow me to have the gym light on with the door open. If you remember I didn’t want a room full of moths which would have been attracted to the brightness of the room. That meant I couldn’t begin painting until five-thirty. The plan was to complete the second coating of the floor which I managed to do all except for the small area where the treadmill had been standing. It is the area between the up-righted treadmill and the small can with the wood on it. That small area had to be left for its second coat as it was part of the walkway I had to leave to enable access to the garden door for the day (to the right and to the rear in the picture). It would get painted on Tuesday morning when the rest of the floor would be dry. This was how the floor looked soon after I had painted the second coat (on the left and beyond)…..

I was feeling rather tired during the rest of the morning and was sitting quietly on the sofa when I heard my eldest son and his wife arrive. They were collecting some things they have in storage here. He was telling me how much he was feeling tired also because of the extra work he had been putting in at work lately, especially the shift work. He is a police officer and puts in some long shifts as they are expected to do these days. He was looking forward to his annual break in a couple of weeks time (as I write). By the time you are reading this he, his wife and their daughter will be holidaying in France for, as he said, twenty-seven nights! They have been to France a couple of times before. I remember when we took he and his younger brother down to the south of France many years ago for a two-week break with a short trip into Spain too. On that occasion we travelled by car, in fact the only time we have ever taken a holiday by car. We have driven in foreign countries of course but we flew there first!

Shirley Anne

Joseph’s cloakroom

 

I had an appointment to see the doctor on Wednesday morning at ten after nine and actually got to see her at that time! Yes it happens sometimes. It was a follow-up visit after I was given medication for a nasty wound on my back which was healing as expected. Whilst there I enquired about treatment for a fungal infection I had beneath a couple of toe nails thinking she would suggest a simple over-the-counter remedy. However I was asked to supply some nail clippings so they could be analysed, so on my return home I clipped my nails and returned with the sample. I was back home around ten-fifteen and immediately set to work in the cellar. It was painting day again and the first task was to finish applying a white undercoat to the remaining shelves, those which I hadn’t time to do the day before. At the same time I gave the rear of the door its first coat of paint too. It was then time for lunch. An hour or so later I returned to work, this time to give the shelves their final coat of paint. I think it was E who suggested we liven the place up and paint them in colours……….

What do you think? I think Joseph would have been proud to hang his coat of many colours in there! The door has to be finished and the floor needs some filling here and there before we paint it later.

Shirley Anne

Just a little bit

Over the last week or so I have been working on and off in the cellar storage room as you know but have not in the last couple of days been able to do much. There were a couple of reasons for this but the main reason was that I have been doing things for E who had been stricken with severe back pain and has been unable to fend for herself. At the time of writing (it is Monday afternoon the 23 rd) the doctor has earlier been to see her and I have just returned from the pharmacy with her prescribed medication. She is still struggling with her mobility but seems to be improving. All this means that I have been preparing her meals and drinks and generally assisting her when asked and have had to fit in the decorating as and when I can. This morning after breakfast I put on my overalls to begin work but had to attend to E first so was late starting. At the moment it is all painting but I managed to paint the left-hand wall before I had to stop…

The rear wall (behind the ladder) will need painting again at the bottom because the wall had evidently still been damp when I painted it a couple of days ago. I have since been using a fan heater to warm the room and speed up the drying process. There is still a little more painting to do…

…the raised part of the ceiling above the door area and of course the door itself. Incidentally in the top picture you can see the main water pipe and stop tap shown here in detail…

I point it out to show that the pipe entering from outside (underground) is made of lead and the pipes then on are copper. A couple of years ago the water authority replaced all of the underground pipes in the area using plastic ones as they had been both cast iron and lead. However though they had been able to use plastic pipe to our house they couldn’t get it all the way into the house without causing much upheaval. Above the point of entry a metre below the front doors are our stone steps…..They could only reach a point close to the white stone in the right of the picture so from that position to inside the cellar room it remains a lead pipe. In the picture above and about a third of the way along the pipe from the right there is a lump (showing bright in the picture). It marks the position where it changes to copper. Now why am I telling you this? It is because I did the work myself years ago. With the water turned off in the street I cut back the lead pipe and flared the end by tapping a cone-shaped piece of wood into it so that I could insert the copper pipe a couple of centimetres. I had already prepared the end of the copper pipe by cleaning it and coating the end with solder to make jointing the pipes easier. The difficult part of sealing the connection was in not overheating the copper pipe when building up the joint with solder. The lead pipe melts at a lower temperature than the solder so it had to be done very carefully. Had I not been used to doing this kind of work I doubt I would have attempted it. I am hoping the room will be completed soon for there are other jobs I am keen to start work on.

Shirley Anne

Despite what I said

In yesterday’s post I mentioned I might not be able to continue with the decorating of the room in the cellar but despite that I found I was able to, at least for a short time. I arose early, not because I wanted to start work early, I’d simply had enough sleep. It meant of course I could do some work after all knowing that E and I were supposed to be visiting the garden centre. I had been wanting to buy some extra plants for quite some time so that I could fill in areas in the main flowerbed. I also wanted to take advantage of the 20% discount on all purchases which they had offered for a few days. First though it was breakfast and soon after I got stuck in and gave the end wall of the cellar room a coat of masonry paint we had left over from previous work. In a few hours it would be dry enough to paint over with the vinyl emulsion but that didn’t happen on the day. Soon after I had painted it I went into the garden and planted out three of the shrubs which we have in pots. They were planted in the corner plot behind the greenhouse where I had planned them to go months ago but never got around to it. They are only small but in a couple of years they will grow into large bushes. I returned indoors and began painting the lower part of the ceiling and one of the walls….It was around eleven o’clock and E was ready to join me in visiting the garden centre but it was nearer twelve o’clock before we left the house. E struggled to move about because of her back problem but she made the effort. When we arrived at the centre she was able to use one of the wheelchairs they have on hand for customers who need them. They also supplied a special trolley which clipped to the wheelchair at the front and I was able to push both the chair with E in it and the trolley too. After a quick coffee we went into the garden area and browsed for some plants. We ended up purchasing eleven of them and had spent £123 after the discount. By the time we returned home it was almost two-thirty. After a bite to eat I went into the garden and arranged the plants where they were best suited and then commenced planting them.Obviously I won’t point them out but they are amongst those we had there already. A couple of them had to be planted elsewhere, one at the other end of the same bed, one in another bed and a third one in the Mound. It was four-thirty and I joined E on the patio where she had been lying down in the warm sunshine since lunch. Alright for some isn’t it?

Shirley Anne

What a mess

How different things look after some tidying up! I have been enjoying some really sound sleep for quite a while now, all due of course to my being busy with my projects. I wake up feeling refreshed just as I ought to and it sets me up for the day, usually to do some more work! It may look as though all I do is work but it isn’t true, I do rest and do other things as well. What I prefer to do is to get the bulk of my work done in the mornings but sometimes I end up working through the afternoon too. I try to keep a tight rein on work for I will only wear myself out if I attempt too much. Yesterday’s post mentions a new project I am tackling with E’s assistance  now and then. It was she who suggested the work be carried out as I suppose she just got fed up with the state of the store-room and to be honest I agreed with that. So in yesterday’s post you will see just how untidy that small room was but after today’s effort it now looks like this

Empty! Behind the door is a work of art…..

One way to clean a brush after use I suppose. I am as guilty as the next person for doing similar but I usually do it on walls that are going to be painted later. I don’t think that door has seen a lick of paint on the inside for many years, certainly long before we moved into the house anyway. There was a free-standing unit at the rear of the room which I moved out and put into the adjacent much larger room we call the workshop which itself needs a thorough clean out. Most of what we took out of the storage room has been put in the workshop but much has also been scrapped too. Now the serious work can begin, replacing bricks, filling in holes in the brick walls and floor tiles, work on the ceiling and shelving, sealing the brickwork and of course painting it all. It will take some time to do but as I usually say these days there is no hurry.

Shirley Anne

Paint, digging and more paint

I was up and about very early on Monday (19) morning but it wasn’t my intention to start work at that hour. I just happened to have had enough sleep having retired early the night before. I started working at eight thirty however and concentrated on painting the interior of the boiler cupboard surround and following that the exterior too. I was interrupted from the work at nine o’clock when E came into the room in her dressing gown to tell me that Robert, her nephew had arrived. Robert is the builder in the family and he, or rather his crew had constructed the raised part of the roof to accommodate the new garage door. If you remember a couple of posts ago I mentioned it had sprung a leak. He left one of his crew to redo part of the roof and give the whole area a new coat of sealant. I trust he won’t have to return again. I checked to see if there was anything he required before returning to my painting. I finished the painting at eleven-thirty then decided to dig out more bluebells. I spent over two hours doing that and must have removed a hundred of them. Nothing like the amount I dug out last year which ran into thousands! I always knew there would still be more this year and sadly some of them simply cannot be removed at all because of where they are. Those we shall have to keep plucking out before they flower. I can see a day when I won’t bother anymore but only because I will not be able. I returned indoors to a belated lunch and E was already sitting down to hers. After lunch I had to empty out the little container we use to dispose of fruit and vegetable waste, skins and such. We empty it into the composting bin along with grass cuttings and leaves. However when I went outside I saw that the garden needed sweeping of the many leaves which had fallen during the recent windy weather. Most of them are ivy with a few holly leaves too. It was a warm and sunny day on Monday so it was pleasant being outdoors. Finally I returned indoors again and painted part of the front doors on the boiler cupboard to see how it would look.

I was going to continue and paint all four doors but I changed my mind in favour of a well-earned break! The ‘pole’ leaning at an angle is actually the clothesline prop. We have decided to park it there where it is out-of-the-way.

Shirley Anne

 

Just when things..

Just when things are beginning to look good something bad happens. Don’t you ever get that in life?  E and I but mostly I have been plodding along getting the gym/boiler room in shape over the past few weeks and by today, that is as I write on the 12 th, everything is coming along fine. There is still some way to go yet and part of the reason for that is that I am finding extra things I can do and have decided to do in the room. As for the decoration the ceiling isn’t quite fully painted yet as are some of the heating pipes. There are still some holes to be filled and this cupboard to sort out…

..and I have also decided to build a cupboard around the boiler, not to cover the boiler itself but the surrounding pipes and fittings.

I plan to fit a door over the switch gear and removable panels where necessary to make maintenance easier. all that will remain visible is the boiler itself for there is no need to hide it. You cannot see the base of the boiler in this picture (above) but it is standing on a square paving slab which is supported by bricks on top of another paving slab. The space between the slabs is open so I plan to fill it in. It was done that way by the heating engineers many years ago when the boiler was replaced. On the right-hand-side of the boiler is the drain cock and I plan to fit a small outlet pipe through the brick wall with a valve on the inside which can be connected to using a flexible pipe to drain down the system if required. The flexible pipe will only be connected when it is needed. The pipe will therefore remain dry at all times. Aside from being able to shut off the water when draining the pipes the valve will also prevent insects from crawling through the pipe when it isn’t being used. You just have to think of everything! Anyway it all sounds intricate and complex but in reality it is all simple to do. The bad thing had nothing to do with the room we are working in but the garage where my van is housed. The roof has been leaking or rather letting rain water seep in. I wouldn’t mind but it is the area we had reconstructed late last year to accommodate the new garage door. Although the sealant is the best so I am told, it looks as though part of the timber it is protecting has bent and has consequently forced a tear in the sealant. As I write a temporary cover is in place until it stops raining to allow a repair. Just when things were going right!

Shirley Anne

12 ahead

I have been writing a lot about my projects at home and the current one, the gym decoration being no exception. This post is twelve ahead  from that which you were reading on the day I wrote it, 7th March. This project is taking a lot of time to do because it doesn’t involve just painting but other things too for instance replacing pipe insulation. There has been much wiring to secure and many holes to be filled both on the ceiling and the walls and much of the ceiling has required more than just the one coat of paint. In fact one part of the ceiling has never received a coat of paint the whole time we’ve lived here! On Wednesday (7th) I spent four hours in the room and was determined not to spend any longer in there after Tuesday’s eight-hour stint. I concentrated my efforts painting more of the ceiling and walls and had to paint the areas a couple of times before it was as white as the previously painted areas. When I was clearing out the room and moving equipment to enable access to the work I discovered the old floor tiles had dropped in a couple of places by the walls so after I had finished painting for the day I decided to mix some concrete screed and fill them in. The largest ones are shown in the pictures above, the top one is situated alongside the treadmill (when it is lowered to the floor) and the lower  is alongside the steps leading out to the garden. It won’t be long before I will need to move this lot either…..….before I can decorate that area, which will be the final area to decorate. Most of it is garden furniture. After lunch I spent a little time in the garden sitting on the patio in the warm sunshine. However that didn’t last too long for the clouds rolled-in, though it did get brighter later. I discovered some more bluebells and spent twenty minutes digging them out before relaxing for the rest of the day.

Shirley Anne

Lots of hours

I deliberately retired to bed early on Monday evening so I could be up and working early on Tuesday. I wanted to replace at least some of the pipe insulation before the heating fired up. I concentrated on this corner of the room as I am moving along doing a section at a time and this part where the treadmill stands was next.

Once the insulation was fitted I could paint it and of course the ceiling and walls in the area too. The dark patches you see in the picture(s) is plaster. I had been patching up several large holes but they couldn’t be painted until they were dry. Further along to the left in the picture I continued to patch up the ceiling as well as replacing insulation,

The pipes are so close to the wall and ceiling in places which made fitting the insulation very difficult. I wrapped tape around where it was possible, especially on the small pieces. The tape will be hidden when it is painted over, as in the top picture. The bottom picture shows a detailed view of the area which presented me with some awkward work. The round white junction box on the ceiling near to the pipes had been installed far too close and it had to be moved, rather difficult when there was little slack in the wiring but hey I am (was) an electrician! The more awkward work was fitting a thin board to cover a large hole in the ceiling above the pipes. The board is brown in colour as it hasn’t as yet been painted. Several pipes and cables enter the hole so I had to ensure they were not moved or trapped. The problem with the hole is it couldn’t easily be patched any other way. The house is old (1877) and has lath and plaster ceilings which cannot be restored without a lot of mess. The only solution would be to fit plasterboard but even that is a messy job. For such a small hole in a room in the cellar in an out-of-the-way position I think doing it the way I did was the best way. Other holes were filled-in as I went along. The room is taking a long time to decorate because of these side issues but there’s no hurry. It has given me the opportunity to clear out many of the things we stored in the room which will now be stored elsewhere. This outdoor furniture for instance

can be stored in the garage now that it is cleaner than it used to be. That whole area needs clearing out anyway to allow decorating to continue. I spent four hours working in the room before lunch and another four after lunch!

Shirley Anne