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

Slow but sure

I was so keen to begin work again on Monday that I made it my business to be up early to get on with it. My or should I say our latest project is decorating the gym/boiler room though E has not been too involved in the work. That is mainly due to her limited ability because of her condition. Though she may be willing there is little she can do. Having said that she has painted one of the internal doors. On Saturday she began painting the door in a salmon pink colour but after discussion we decided red would be a more suitable colour.  We had some left over from my painting the front lounge ceiling detail last summer. 

On the left-hand wall just below the pipes I manufactured and fitted a door stop first thing after breakfast but the main area of work during the morning was in the corner around the treadmill.

Of course I had to raise the treadmill to its vertical position and cover it with sheets as you can see. In the next picture you can see the ceiling and wiring I was working on.

The wiring on the wall and ceiling needed fixing securely for much of it was simply dangling. There were large holes in both the wall and the ceiling which needed filling and that took much time to do. Before those repairs can be painted over they will need skimming over again. My intentions are to work slowly but surely around the room and completing each small area as I go. Whilst I was doing that work E was painting the door. After lunch E didn’t join me as there was nothing she could do. I however concentrated on painting around the entrance door, that part of the ceiling up to and above the up-righted treadmill and the wall adjacent to it before the paint ran out. By now it was four o’clock and I thought it not worth continuing by opening a new can of paint so I stopped work for the day. We had a delivery of pipe insulation but only one carton had been sent, something to do with them not having it all in stock. The second was promised on Tuesday instead.

The carton contains 48 x 1 metre lengths of insulation.

Shirley Anne

Going with the flow

At last it was Saturday (3rd) and the prospect of the promised warmer weather beginning in the morning was on my mind. I had set my alarm (just in case) for I wanted to arise early but as it happened I was awake long before it was due to go off. My plan was to purchase some pipe lagging then return home and begin to fit it. The initial work would be done in the gym/boiler room where I planned to continue with the decorating. Some time ago we purchased the same lagging but it was only enough to cover part of the pipework. Now we wanted to continue that work. The insulating lagging isn’t cheap to purchase at £205 for two boxes to cover almost 100 metres. Yes there are a lot of pipes which require replacement insulation. We chose, as last time, the higher grade insulation but though it is more than twice the price it gives better insulation with less heat loss. It also lasts longer. Most of it would be used outside of the room we were decorating and should be enough for the job. We had thought we could collect it there and then but it isn’t kept at the outlet and would be delivered the following Monday. It didn’t matter for there was plenty of other work to be going on with. However it was now after eleven o’clock and we decided to put off that work until after lunch. Instead, we went into the garden and I removed the main part of the windbreaks I had fitted to protect the plants a few days earlier whilst E had prepared and hung out a ball of bird food and some bird seeds. It wasn’t long after that we returned indoors for lunch. Then it was time to do a little something in the cellar room. I patched up some holes with plaster and then continued with painting the ceiling and walls. We wanted to change the colour of the doors (aside from the main PVC one leading out to the garden) to anything but the colour they were. E rooted through our paint stock and came up with this….

Salmon pink! To be fair I wanted a bright yellow but we didn’t wish to purchase paint when we have plenty of it in storage. It might get painted over or not, we’ll have to wait and see. E is painting the doors so I will leave the decision to her. This was as far as we got on the day as we didn’t want to do much work anyway.

Shirley Anne


Lighter work, brighter day

It hardly ever snows around these parts…..until it does!

This was the scene which greeted me when I arose on Tuesday (27th). By lunchtime much of it had disappeared at least on the pathways and roads where the sun was shining. The sun shone throughout the day and we had blue skies. It took Siberian weather to give us snow and very cold winds though on Tuesday the wind had subsided somewhat. I had placed windbreaks around some of the exposed plants in the rear garden for although the plants could withstand low temperatures the cold wind could do more damage. For other plants I wrapped some of the more exposed ones with bubble wrap to protect their cores. Again it was for protection from the wind. Later in the week we were to expect the wind to finally veer more from the south and therefore less cold. I wasn’t venturing outdoors, at least during the morning as I had work to do, this time though only light work, painting the wall behind the new pit. It was about time for the room to be redecorated anyway but a start on that particular wall was necessary in order to allow us to move the trainer into the pit. Before that happens I will paint the ceiling above the pit and that part of the room will be finished. Of course I didn’t paint elsewhere for I didn’t wish to work all day. I did however fill in some holes with plaster before stopping for the day even though it was only eleven o’clock.

Shirley Anne

Construction over

It was now Saturday morning and after an early breakfast I went into the cellar to begin the final stage of constructing the pit, the cosmetic work that is! I had sealed and later given the lining of the pit and the floor a coat of paint but hadn’t done the brickwork that had been exposed when the floor was lowered. See yesterday’s post. I had thought about rendering the bricks with cement but when I got downstairs and looked at them I decided simply a coat of paint would do….

At the same time I gave the rest of the pit another coat of paint and might have to do the same for the bricks later. there was one small spot on the floor of the pit where the sealant hadn’t dried out completely and it refused the application of paint so I have left it until it does. It is in the corner by the wall and is just out of sight in the picture. When the paint had dried, which I would leave until Monday, I planned to move the power outlet to a position above that same corner. A switched fuse box will be installed where the power socket is now situated. If you are an electrician you will know why and if you are not it will allow more outlets to be installed later should they be needed. The fuse will limit power usage from all the outlets. Technical stuff over. So it looks like we will be able to finally get the Trainer into position in the pit within the next few days. That in itself may not be as easy at it sounds.

Shirley Anne

Not quite there

My little project in the cellar is nearing completion but is not quite there yet. On Friday morning (23rd) the plan was to seal the now set concrete screed and the rest of the concrete using a proprietary concrete liquid sealant. That I did soon after breakfast and after lunch it had dried. I also applied the top coat of paint to the handrail and post. I was now able to apply an undercoat of paint to the pit surfaces which itself was a sealant too. This it how it looked when I had finished…

I have still to tackle the exposed brickwork at the rear of the pit which perhaps needs a little rendering applied before it is subsequently painted. Following that there is a little sprucing up of the surrounding floor area to be carried out and I also intend to re-position the power outlet I installed a few weeks ago. Finally I have the task of partially dismantling the Elliptical Trainer before placing it into the pit for re-assembly. I am already making plans for another small project which needs to be done and that is to sort out some problems with the driveway E uses to get in and out of her garage. Some of the flagstones have become loose and in fact they need lifting in order to fill-in the spaces beneath them before I then set them in place again. I may find the remaining sand I dug out to form the pit will be very useful for this job. The only problem will be the weather, I need a couple of dry days to carry out the work.

Shirley Anne