My van will be ten years on the road come Spring, March to be precise and during that period so far it has covered a mere thirty thousand and a couple of hundred miles only. Not a lot of mileage and considering the engine is run on diesel, a mere drop in the ocean. That means little wear and tear and of course little expenditure too. Nevertheless despite the low mileage the engine has been started many, many times which of course has been a strain on the battery. The original battery, as I write this on Monday, is still under the bonnet but I made the decision to have it replaced and by Tuesday a new one will have been installed. I had the old one checked beforehand of course and a replacement was just about required. Although I could have managed with the old battery for a while longer I thought it prudent to have it replaced just in case it failed at an inopportune time. Money well spent I think. On Wednesday this week (27th) another measurement will be taken in the garage to ensure our alterations will be adequate for the new door installation. There is no reason why it should not as we have followed the instructions regarding the installers requirements. The door will be installed on Thursday the following week and I am to pay the balance on the day. However, the fitters are to be paid separately preferably by cash. With that in mind and whilst I was out arranging for the battery replacement I withdrew the remainder of the cash which I couldn’t withdraw the first time in readiness. The fee will be £415 requiring two withdrawals from an ATM on separate days because of the present £300 limit here in the UK. All routine stuff as we all know. That expenditure will be money well spent too. I asked E if she would like to dine out for we hadn’t done that for a time but she had to spend the late morning and early afternoon out with her mom. On my return home she still hadn’t left the house but did so soon afterward. It was one-fifteen when she returned and we went out to lunch. We drove to a place located on the other side of the next town, somewhere we have visited many times. This time however service was slow even though there were few diners in there. Disappointed we left and went to another establishment not far down the road, another place we have visited many times before. This time the service was prompt. Well we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent there laughing and joking with the staff as well as ourselves. Time well spent cheering up other people and bolstering our own relationship too. We didn’t stay for coffee though as we might have done but drove homeward passing Dobbies (garden centre) on the way where we spent a little time drinking coffee. The coffee was free, that is each month I am entitled to two free drinks of coffee or tea because I have membership there. That was nice too and again our time had been well spent.
E and I had been invited to a garden centre end of season sale with stock selling at reduced prices. The centre is one we have used before of course though of late we now tend to use Dobbies for our gardening needs. This other centre is about six or seven miles from home whereas Dobbies is just over one mile away. I get discounts at Dobbies throughout the year. We arrived at the centre with time to spare handing in our signed invitation to get access. We had no idea if we would buy anything or not but ended up purchasing two plants, a garden ornament in the shape of an owl, a bird table, some weed killer and some lawn feed spending around seventy to eighty pounds in the process.
In the top picture are the Azalea (right) and a Dahlia shrub (left) both in their pots until I get to plant them later. The owl is in the middle picture and of course the new bird bath is in the lower picture. We waited about an hour looking out of the kitchen windows before the first bird took a bath in it. The robin which lives in a bush nearby was the first partaker and he loved it so much we were wondering if he’d ever get out! Before driving home we decided to visit Dobbies, initially for the free coffee we get each month but to also browse around. We ended up purchasing two more plants, a Fan Palm and an Olearia. Both can grow to a height of over two metres. We already have a Fan Palm but that one is classed as a dwarf palm as it only grows to a height of around one metre. As an extra bonus we discovered that there were two Fan Palms in the same pot and selling for the price of one. Maybe you can see that there are two plants in the right-hand pot. That means we can plant in two different places. We dropped the goods off at home before driving off to a local pub for lunch. It was on our return home that we set up the bird table.
Click on images to magnify.
Funny how sometimes our plans change but the changes are not always bad. I was determined to go for a walk on Wednesday so I arose early to do it. Yes, nothing got in the way though they could have. Before I set off I went next door to return a gift my neighbour had given me, though I had told her not to, for doing a small job for her the previous day. It might appear to some that by doing that I was wrong and should have accepted the gift graciously but as with everything there was a reason. First of all I have done many small jobs for her but always refuse the offer of payment or a thank-you gift and she has understood that I do things because it is right to do so and wrong to do it expecting a reward. My reward is in Heaven. Each time though she makes an offer. Secondly most of the things I do for her really don’t take much time and I am happy to do them. Anyway the gifts she offered I would never buy and use in any case. Finally I think she got the message that I do things for her because that’s what neighbours should be doing for each other. I went for my walk and returned home around eleven-thirty. E made me a drink of coffee and I asked her if she would like to dine out for a change. She never refuses if there is nothing she has already planned. I explained that I also wanted to take the opportunity to wear my new full-length summer dress for the first time as the afternoon promised to be warm and sunny. Any ideas of beginning the construction of the new wooden gate were subsequently consigned to the shelf for another day! We drove to a nice restaurant some twelve miles away, one we have visited before and is it was two o’clock by the time we arrived there we were easily seated. We chatted with the waitress during our meal, a pleasant young woman who made the experience that much better. Finally it was time to return home but at the last minute we made a detour and went to our local pub for a drink which we enjoyed in the seating area outside. We didn’t stay long for E wished to be at home sitting on the patio with a coffee. So I made the coffee and we sat outside for an hour before returning indoors for the evening. What I had originally planned for the day I was glad I changed my mind by not doing. There was always tomorrow available to do them.
Tuesday was another hot and humid day with wall to wall sunshine until seven in the evening when clouds began to appear. Evidently we were to have thunderstorms during Wednesday with some much-needed rain. I deliberately rose early knowing the day would be hot so that I could go for a long walk. I managed to leave the house at seven o’clock having forgone eating breakfast. I had a little water and nothing else. I carry water with me anyway should I get thirsty. Even at that early hour the warm sunshine could be felt. I arrived back home over two hours later but still not hungry. E had wanted to buy a couple of items of clothing, a lightweight summer top and matching loose-fitting pants and she suggested we go shopping for them whilst reminding me that I had wanted some walking boots and a waterproof coat. She obviously wanted me to purchase her items too but I was always going to do that anyway as she has little in the way of spare funds. By the time she had gotten ready it was eleven o’clock when we drove off to town. Just prior to leaving I received a call to do a small electrical job at an apartment close to home. I told the caller I would do it but it would have to be later in the afternoon as I was about to go shopping. I seldom go shopping with E because she is hard to please and my suggestions are not always appreciated. It takes a very long time to get around the shops because of her disability which over the previous two days had been aggravated by her left foot becoming swollen too. That put her on crutches until it would heal. Normally she has to use a walking stick to get around but this added problem had slowed her down considerably. She insisted we visit the store to buy the boots and the coat and I purchased both in minutes…
I got them both at half-price for a total of £95. We moved on to the next store to purchase her items but unfortunately only one was available, the top. Although we searched and asked staff the pants were not in stock. She looked for a substitute but gave up on the idea of finding something she liked. In the meantime I found a lovely ankle-length summer dress which I purchased for £50…
E’s top cost £32. She’d had enough of shopping so wanted to go home but I suggested we go for a meal instead. We went to a pub/restaurant we have come to like just out-of-town and it was lovely. Finally we returned home where I tried on the dress to check the fit but E reminded me of the job I had promised to do so I had to quickly change back into my day-wear clothes. I drove to the apartment and soon had the work done before returning home again to join E on the patio. Most of the time on the patio I spent in the shade. I’d had enough of the sun for one day.
For once I was first up on Saturday morning though by the time I had showered, dressed and put on my make-up to go downstairs E had beaten me to it. Our youngest son had stopped overnight but he didn’t get downstairs until much later. The post had been delivered early and strangely there were three letters, one for each of us. I opened mine to find enclosed a cheque for an over payment on an insurance I had made. Although it was my money and not a windfall or prize it was still a nice surprise. It meant however a trip to town in order to bank it. I was going for a walk anyway so it wasn’t an inconvenience. E opened her letter and read it before giving it to me to read also. She had won a cash prize of two hundred pounds ostensibly to spend in a Michelin starred restaurant for two people with a further one hundred and fifty pounds to cover expenses in getting there. A cheque for three hundred and fifty pounds made out to cash. She could spend it as she wished. The third letter turned out only to be a bank statement. I congratulated her on her win, something I have done many times over the last few years as she is always winning prizes of one sort or another. I took the walk into town and after depositing the cheque I stopped at a church café to have a coffee before walking back home. It was after twelve o’clock when I got back and E was eating a couple of items of fruit and she was now dressed to go to her group’s monthly meeting. She had been complaining over the last few days about a pain and the swelling of her left foot. I had advised her a day or two earlier to see the doctor in case it had been broken but she had insisted she hadn’t had an accident to cause it. I suggested she didn’t go to the meeting but rest her foot but she had decided by then to visit the hospital to have it checked. The doctor’s surgery isn’t open on a Saturday afternoon so it had to be the hospital. Naturally I drove her to the hospital but I didn’t wait there. I drove out of the hospital to park elsewhere to avoid paying parking fees and waited for almost two hours. She was to call me when her treatment was over. I drove off to the garden centre to spend an hour there and still she hadn’t called me so I drove back, parked up and walked into the outpatients department to see if her treatment was over. The waiting room was full, the average waiting time for minor problems was three hours and for major problems two and a half hours! More than three hours had passed since I had dropped her off and fortunately her treatment by then was just about over. I walked back to collect the van and she was outside waiting. They had X-rayed the foot and found it wasn’t broken or fractured but couldn’t say with any certainty what the problem was though E had mentioned she had been bitten by an insect. Perhaps it was just the reaction to that but it put her on crutches until it clears up. She is having a bad time of it with her other condition (spina-bifida) without now having to put up with this inconvenience too. I had missed lunch, something I am well used to, so by the time we arrived back home at five-thirty I was rather hungry. We ate our meal and that was the day almost over.
I am getting more used to being a pedestrian lately, hardly doing any driving at all as there is little need to. Obviously the van gets its outings now and then but it is in the garage far longer than it is out of it. The truth is that the van hasn’t done much mileage since it was purchased in March 2008! Total distance covered? 30200 miles! Hardly moved at all in the last nine years and accordingly it is still as good as new. I doubt I covered more than a thousand miles over the last twelve months or so even doing electrical jobs. Now that I am undertaking almost no electrical work it is very unlikely the van will cover a thousand miles this year. I do like driving believe it or not and am happy doing it, it never was a problem with me. So I am walking more often but just for the pleasure of it and of course the exercise. Feet came before the wheel didn’t they? I went for my daily walk on Monday and had only gone a half-mile before seeing an acquaintance of mine who, with his wife, live near to our local pub and on this particular day the route I had taken. As I generally don’t frequent the pub in the evenings these days we seldom see each other. He told me that his sixtieth birthday was imminent to which I sparked, ‘Why it was only ten years ago you had your fiftieth’! Laughs all around. He had stopped by his house to collect something before he and his accomplice drove off again. He owns a company which manufactures and installs gates and railings. I continued with my walk and ended up walking about five miles or so circling the town in the process and ending up at our local ‘Dobbies‘ gardening centre. I say local in that it is in Southport but a mile from where I live. I had called in to use their washroom but before doing so I called E to ask if she would like to dine out and if she did could she come and pick me up. Now there is a restaurant at Dobbies but I doubt I’d ever have a meal there. I have used the restaurant when having a coffee and a quick snack sometimes. Anyway E arrived there twenty minutes later and we drove off to a pub on the outskirts of town to eat there. After lunch we stopped at a filling station for fuel and the returned to Dobbies for a free cup of coffee each. As a member I have the privilege of two free coffees each month, if I’ve a mind to go there. So E took advantage and we had a large latté apiece. Now E drives everywhere because of her condition and seldom walks far, in fact she can’t walk far anyway. Despite being a pedestrian more often it is always nice to be chauffeured around once in a while. Soon after we had returned home our neighbour called at the door to present us both with a little gift, a summer scarf for each of us. It was according to her a little gift in appreciation of the things we have done for her. We do help her out with different problems but we don’t expect to be rewarded for it and we do tell her not to buy things. However, it would be very discourteous to reject her obvious thanks for being good neighbours.
Medieval dentist removing tooth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather for there is nothing I can do about it. These past few days have been very warm and humid, so much so it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and drained of energy. It has more to do with the humidity rather than the temperature and that applies to everyone. We can only cool down (in the air) if our perspiration is allowed to evaporate but the higher the humidity the less that can happen. I try to do as little as possible when conditions are humid but it isn’t easy. On Thursday morning I had a dental appointment across town and even at ten o’clock in the morning it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. How grateful I was that the surgery is fully air-conditioned. Whilst I was waiting to see the dentist I received a phone call from my neighbour informing me that I should return home because the house alarm had been sounding. I wondered why E hadn’t contacted me but as we haven’t been on speaking terms she asked a neighbour! All that however is a different story which I will not go into at this time. I explained that it was impossible for me to return immediately and left it at that. The alarm would automatically cease sounding after twenty minutes anyway and when I did arrive back home some forty minutes later it had indeed cut off.
A house alarm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It transpired that the main panel battery was faulty but I called the alarm company and asked if they could attend and replace it and also do a complete service at the same time. We hadn’t an existing maintenance agreement so I arranged that with the engineer when he called. For an annual fee (presently £108) they will check out the system each year and carry out any necessary repairs. I had asked their office not to send an engineer before three o’clock as I was eating out. They came at one-fifteen! Fortunately I had been to the pub before then but my visit there was cut short. It was just as well as it turned out. It is unusual for people to arrive earlier than the appointed time I have to say but I suppose they had time on their hands. My dental appointment by the way was for a routine check-up and clean but I have been referred to a local clinic in regard to a gum infection at the dentist’s request. He just wanted a second opinion. By mid-afternoon all had calmed down, dentist, pub, alarm sorted but I had to water the gardens once again. It is easy enough for me to go and stand in the shower if I get too uncomfortable but the poor plants must be wondering when it will be that it rains again! I wish it would too.
A couple of days ago I unscrewed the top hinge on the lounge door in order to set it back in the door frame. This was because the door was too low at the leading edge and was brushing the carpet as the door was opened or closed. Setting the top hinge back even a tiny amount was enough to raise the door but unfortunately the door still brushed over the carpet. The hinge couldn’t be set back any further however so on Wednesday morning I decided the door had to be removed so that I could plane off some of the wood on the bottom. It took me less than twenty minutes and the door was back on its hinges and no longer brushing the carpet. The old carpet didn’t have the same depth of pile that the new one has so the door wasn’t a problem. Anyway that was the first job for the day. Mid-morning I took a trip to the electrical supply store to purchase a new in-line switch and some flexible lighting cable with which to lengthen the cable supplied with one of the new table lamps I had purchased. The cable supplied on the lamp wasn’t long enough to allow the lamp to sit on the new pillar stand.I had made. Unfortunately the switch that came with the lamp couldn’t be removed except by cutting it free which was why a new switch was required, one that clamped together with screws.
The power outlet is behind the television just over a metre away from the stand. The stand is just that, simply a stand with no access to the inside. It could equally have a vase full of flowers sitting on it instead. By now it was approaching lunchtime and I decided to eat at the pub rather than at home. I had hardly left the house at all over the previous couple of weeks being as I was busy working there. I had walked to the pub and on my return I met my next-door neighbour who was about to keep an appointment with her doctor. She tells me often that she is fed-up with her situation in that she has to go everywhere with an oxygen bottle because of her condition. She has emphysema. I always try to cheer her up and I get her to laugh but I can see she knows her situation is not going to improve. The rest of my day was spent at home and out on the patio. We have been enjoying a lot of wall-to-wall sunshine this past month and it is good to be out in it.
I often talk about putting off doing jobs or part of them until later or the next day. Throughout the time I have been refurbishing and redecorating the small lounge I have relented on my decisions to put things off until later and have done them sooner than I said I would. I simply cannot stand around knowing something needs doing and not doing something about it. As I write this on Thursday evening the small lounge lies empty and ready for the carpet to be laid on Friday morning. All the work that needed to be done to reach this point has been done, even the connection of the new radiator.
In yesterday’s post I said I would leave off connecting the radiator on its right-hand side as that would have meant draining down the system but this morning I just got on with it and drained the system. First of all I removed the radiator from the wall and painted the supporting wood work I had fitted the previous day. While the paint was drying (about a half-hour) I began tidying up the room and then drained the pipes. This radiator is connected at the bottom on both sides and the right side needed cutting back with a small length of pipe added to reach the radiator as the radiator is slightly smaller than the one I removed. When I finally attempted to refill the system nothing happened. The storage water tank at the top of the house had a blockage in the pipe. You have to remember the house is four stories high if you include the cellar so constantly having to climb the stairs is really tiring. Anyway the system filled and it was time to bleed out any air from all the radiators. I have no doubt I will have to pay special attention to the bathroom towel rail which always gives me problems after a drain-down. That will have to wait. So the room is empty as I write….
I managed to assemble the new floor standing lamp and replace the fitted 13 amp plug with a 5 amp plug as the lamp will be plugged into one of the several 5 amp sockets in the room. They are all switched from one of the three switches by the door. This means any lamps plugged into the 5 amp sockets can be switched on entry to the room. The added advantage of this system is the sockets are on a separate circuit breaker from the ceiling and wall-mounted lights. Incidentally at this point in time I haven’t replaced the two wall lights as I am thinking of purchasing new ones to match the floor lamp and maybe a couple of table lamps too. We’ll see.
I drove off to the retail store to purchase three LED bulbs for the floor lamp and a couple of door knobs to fit to the cabinet. Driving back I was praying and thanking God for supplying me in my need, I am always thanking and praising God by the way, and I was thinking out loud that I could do with some electrical work to help fund my projects. Thirty seconds later my phone rang and it was someone asking for my services! I thanked God and drove to the house. Following that small job I went to the pub for lunch. It was three o’clock and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I didn’t want to stand cooking, I’d had enough for one day though I did fit the two door knobs when I returned home later.
I sometimes wonder why I make plans because when I do they frequently change, usually because of circumstance. So my plan for Thursday morning was to ensure the bare plaster of the walls in the small lounge were sealed and that’s what I did. I had purchased a ready-mixed paper adhesive thinking it was ‘size’ or the conventional powder you mix with cold water to form a paste. However, it was a very thick paste based on PVA adhesive. I had to take some and mix it with water so that I could brush it onto the walls as I would have done had it been an ordinary paste. I mentioned in a previous post that the walls were already smooth and therefore unlikely to absorb the paste from the paper but I applied a coat anyway. Whilst doing that I began to think back to the last time the walls were bare in 1989, how we had to patch it up in places and repair the plaster work when we installed the fire surround. I remembered how much that unit had cost me, £400 because it is made of oak.
I noticed that the door required another coat of gloss as did the skirting boards in some places and also the fire surround. I decided not to do anything then but attend to it later after lunch. I had to drive to the carpet store to select and purchase a new carpet in grey together with some new underlay. I went to the store I always use when buying new carpets and asked if I could have the same fitter I normally have to lay it. I paid the full amount (£800) and set a date for it to be done which will be 12th May. It was now lunchtime so I gave myself a treat and dined out at the pub for the third time in the week. I knew that once I returned home it would be to do some painting and I was feeling a little reluctant but returned home soon after I had eaten. I got to work immediately and had the painting done in an hour. Again I was hoping it would be the last time I would need the gloss paint. Before I put the brush and paint away I right-turned the coffee table I had upturned the previous day to paint the underside and I gave the top a coat of paint. The whole table will need another coat before it is finished. Now I was ready to hang the paper but it would have to wait until Friday. However, I had a small electrical job to do on Friday morning and there might be more to come later. The paper hanging would have to wait but if I couldn’t do any of it on Friday I would be able to do so on Saturday.
Man putting caulk on baseboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like most days Tuesday started well enough but the plans I had didn’t fully materialise as I thought they might. The plan was to fill in the gaps in the wood work using the caulk I had bought on Monday. I had been using decorators caulk to fill-in where necessary but I didn’t have enough. So after breakfast I made a start doing that and in fact had it all done in thirty minutes. At this point I was about to begin applying the second coat of gloss paint first of all to the door and door frame and then following on with the window frames, If I had enough time I would paint the picture rail too but I didn’t plan working in the afternoon so the rail might not get done. I made myself a coffee before beginning the painting but I felt a little queasy and sat down for a few minutes.with the coffee. I had a restless night and had found it difficult to get to sleep. It would be around two o’clock before I finally closed my eyes and went to sleep. Too much going on in my mind had made me restless. Though I did sleep it was for only three and a half hours so I suppose I was just too tired. Anyway things improved as I began painting the door frame. After doing the door and door frame I moved on to the window and managed to get the top section completed before I had a visit from my eldest son, his wife and his daughter who had come to sort out some of their stored items. I made the effort and finished off the top section of the frames but decided to leave the bottom section until Wednesday morning. Just then I received a call from a couple I had worked for quite recently who were having difficulty in replacing two fluorescent light tubes in their under-unit kitchen lighting system. I talked them through the process but they found it impossible to do and asked if I would call there. Their home is eight miles from mine. I agreed to go and when I inspected the fittings they were indeed awkward and stiff making the lamp replacement difficult so it wasn’t a wasted journey. Whilst there I was asked to replace their central heating/hot water control unit and to check out a lighting switch. I removed the old control unit and the guy took it with him and went to purchase an identical replacement while I got on with the other tasks. He wasn’t gone long as they live quite near a supplier and I fitted the new unit he had purchased. By now it was after three o’clock and I had missed lunch so when I drove back to my own town I decided again to eat at the pub. No more work that day and my main hope was for a good night’s sleep so that I could perhaps finish the painting the next day.
….and one subtraction was the name of the game on Monday (24th). Again I was eager to resume work after Sunday resting. I actually got the opportunity to lie down on the patio, out of the wind but in the warmth of the sun. It wasn’t that windy but sitting in it too long would be uncomfortable unless the sun was shining. I did sit in it for a time then decided to get out one of the mats and lay on that for a time. So it was now Monday morning and I was up and ready to go well before nine o’clock. I wanted to complete the application of the first coat of gloss paint on that wood work which remained with only an undercoat. That meant all the skirting boards and the fire surround or mantlepiece. I had already completed the door, door and window frames on Saturday. The skirting took less than an hour but the fire surround took around two hours and if you look at the picture you can see why….
…it is quite intricate in detail. So now I had all the gloss paint done but I have to give it all a second coat and do a little filling-in with caulk in a few places beforehand too. The second coat should be quicker to do. What I like about the gloss paint I am using is that it appears to have a slight grey-green tint when applying it but it turns pure white as it dries and that makes it very easy to apply over the first coat as far as seeing where you have done as you paint. Looking at the picture again you will notice that the fire has gone. Before I began work at nine I had already visited the local fireplace installer to organise an engineer to call to give me some advice regarding the existing fire and the hearth itself. Just before I had finished the painting their engineer called to the house and we discussed the alternatives available to me. The problem is that the existing hearth and back granite (reconstituted) is of the wrong colour now that I have or will have changed the decor and I want it to be a shade of grey instead. The fire itself is now 28 years old and I decided to replace it after our discussion so with that in mind I asked the guy to disconnect it and take it away. I said I would call into their office after lunch to arrange and pay for the work to be done which is to tile over the back and hearth and install a new fire. I went to the pub for lunch (this is becoming a regular habit) and then drove to the office, chose a fire and tile colour, paid the fee (£800) which includes labour costs, and returned home. I was informed that the work might be undertaken at the end of the following week. Perfect. I didn’t stop at home long as I had to go out and purchase the tube of caulk which I had forgotten to buy earlier and at the same time visit the garden centre. One of the shrubs in the long flowerbed hadn’t taken root and had died and I wanted to put something else in its place. The shrub was merely an off-shoot of a plant already growing in the bed (the one on the extreme left in the picture) which I had removed when digging out bluebells a couple of months ago. I gave it the chance to grow further along the bed but it didn’t work. Anyway I bought another Prunus Novita (Cherry Laurel) to plant in the space…..
It is the tall dark plant against the wall dead-centre in the picture. The other one I purchased a couple of weeks ago I planted in the west wall flowerbed which has had more plants put in it since.
So one addition (the plant) and one subtraction (the fire).
I had all sorts of things I wanted to do on Saturday (22nd) but my day started little later than I had planned, nevertheless I was downstairs before nine and had eaten breakfast by then too. The plan was to do more work in the lounge but it was such a lovely sunny day I decided not to spend too long working. I began by finishing applying a coat of gloss paint to the remainder of the picture rail, the door frame and the door. I decided not to paint the skirting boards or the fire surround (mantlepiece) for doing that would keep me working all morning and possibly into the afternoon. I wasn’t prepared to do that. Even so I spent almost two hours doing what I did then stopped to do a little work in the garden. Usually when I say garden it is invariably the rear garden as I spend less time working in the front garden which needs less maintenance. Monday was going to be collection day for the ‘green’ waste so I had to empty out the large bag which held the remaining bluebells and other plants which couldn’t be collected the previous time. There were other waste items to dispose of too, some large shrub root balls and leaves. I couldn’t place all the root balls in the bins as there wouldn’t be enough space for them this time around. They will go next time. I needed to leave enough space in one of the bins to accommodate the grass cuttings I was about to produce, yes, it was time to cut the lawn once more. So I mowed the lawn and pulled the now filled bins into the front garden ready to put out in the street on Sunday evening. Time for lunch but for a change I went to the pub. It isn’t often I eat at the pub on a Saturday as I am usually too busy working. After a change of clothes I walked to the pub in the lovely sunshine. I had expected the place to be full but it wasn’t so I didn’t have to wait long to be served. As usual the girls greeted me by name (they do that for most of the regular customers) and made me feel welcome. I seem to get special treatment from one or two of them who like to chat with me. Anyway it was a pleasant hour or two and I walked back home. I hung the washing on the lines in the cellar having forgotten I had placed it in the machine earlier. I could have hung it outside but I often don’t do that. Left to dry in the cellar means I can casually take it down when it suits and don’t have to worry about the weather. I made a coffee and sat out in the sun on the patio but after a while I’d had enough of that. I remembered that I needed to clear out the gutter on the rear of the garage roof overlooking the Plot and at the same time adjust the set time on the small floodlight nearby as it wasn’t remaining on long enough when triggered. Having collected the ladder and tools I did those two small jobs then I decided to get the hose out and water the garden as we hadn’t had much rain for a while. Then I noticed a bluebell growing behind one of the small plants in the Mound. Out came the tools and kneeling stool and I began to dig it out. I really had to dig deep and in the process dug out quite a few bulbs. Did I mention that I consider bluebells to be a weed, yes, nice weeds but still weeds? Time to go indoors for another coffee and watch the FA cup semi-final game (soccer). Do I ever rest?
So I began Wednesday getting organised to start the redecoration of the small front lounge. First task was to clear a space in the garage so I could then move the old three-piece suite into it. Here is the lounge window with the front door to the left and the garage on the right (picture taken last year). I had to manoeuvre it through the door, down the steps and around to the space I had prepared to the left of the van. Fortunately the front door is really two both of which open fully and the garage is more than twice the width of the van and almost twice as long.
It was surprisingly easy to get the suite moved. Next task was to bring in a section of the tower from the garage and erect it in the lounge.
The platform on the tower is slightly less than half the height to the ceiling and at a perfect position to work on the ceiling and frieze beneath it. It was around eleven o’clock when I decided to drive off to the decorator supply store to order in the wall paper having made up my mind which one I wanted. I returned their sample book at the same time. Whilst there I also purchased white emulsion paint for the ceiling and a small can of a red-coloured emulsion with which to pick out part of the cornice which is presently blue as in the picture below.
I didn’t return home directly but went to the pub again for lunch. I must have arrived just at the right time for it became full of diners shortly after. I didn’t hang about once I had eaten and then returned home with the paint. The wall paper would be in the store a day or so later ready to collect. I spent a little time disconnecting and removing an old cctv control unit from behind the television and the two wall-mounted lights. You can see the circular electrical boxes in the second and fourth pictures.
That was about all the work I did on the day. I have yet to remove some small items of furniture and other things followed by the television, carpet and probably the underlay too in case it gets damaged. The underlay will be used with the new carpet I have yet to purchase but that will be done when the rest of the work is completed. Our local council will collect the old suite in the morning of the same day the guy coming to measure for new curtains will arrive, that is tomorrow, Thursday. I am hoping that by the time you are reading this I will have made some progress in the redecoration. It is looking more likely that I will end up doing the work myself unless my decorator friend becomes available.
Talking about redecorating one of the lounges in yesterday’s post set me thinking seriously about getting the ball rolling, setting the wheels in motion as it were as I had nothing else to do on a dull Monday morning. What a difference the weather turned out to be on Monday compared to the previous two to three days. It was much cooler and windier though I will say it brightened up later. Not one for hanging about too long before making the decision to get the lounge redecorated I made immediate steps in that direction. Before I could do anything however I received a call telling me that the photo cell sensor unit I had ordered had arrived and was ready for collection. As it happened the existing sensor had resumed working as before but I still followed through with the purchase and drove there to collect it. It will be a useful stand-by should one of the two installed units fail. Pity it cost £75 for the privilege but there you go. So getting back to the lounge…..I organised an appointment with Hillary’s who’s representative will now be coming along on the 20th of this month, three days hence in fact, to measure for bespoke curtains and to install them at a later date. They have to be made to suit because the windows are of unusual dimensions. At the same time I will decide on the colour. That arranged I proceeded to check out the local furniture stores over the Internet and finally selected at least for the time being the sofas I want, one three-seater and the other a two-seater from DFS. They cost me £1700 in their sale offer. I paid up front. The suite we have at the moment consists of a three-seater sofa and two armchairs but having a two-seater instead of two armchairs saves space and for this room will be more suitable. I have chosen from the Mendez range in the colour ‘Bordeaux’ which as the name implies is a rich crimson red. They, I have been informed will take around six weeks to manufacture and deliver, plenty of time to be getting on with the decorating. Whilst I was out collecting the sensor I drove to a decorating supply centre and purchased some cover stain (for covering the existing mahogany stain on the woodwork), some gloss paint and wallpaper paste. I didn’t purchase the emulsion on that visit but will collect some later and neither did I purchase the wallpaper. Now I have ordered the furniture I can decide on the colour of the wallpaper and later on the carpet. I will need to decide on the colour of the wallpaper before I have the curtains made too. So it starts…. After I had dropped the materials back home I went to the pub for lunch and at the same time phoned my decorator friend. He told me he was quite busy but maybe could do the work in a few week’s time. I just have to remind him later on. I see him at the pub sometimes too though he wasn’t there on Monday, well he would be working at that time of day! I had thought about doing the work myself but I will have enough to do stripping the room and getting it ready to work in and of course any electrical work that comes in. Later in the afternoon in fact I received a call to do some electrical work the following day which all helps to lessen the cost of the decorating.