Tag Archives: DIY

Everything has slowed down…….

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……even me! I have not done any electrical work for quite some time now which in itself isn’t a great problem, it’s just that I have to look for other things to do. I have mentioned that I am thinking about redecorating the stairwell and hallways and replacing the carpet up to and including the first floor. The decor can be the same throughout as long as it matches the carpets. I would really like to paint all the wood work white in colour and have a dark grey carpet and perhaps a very pale shade of grey on the walls. The problem is that there is a lot of wood to paint and carpets would have to be lifted until it was done. Of course I can concentrate on one floor at a time but even so it will be a long time in completing. With that in mind and the cost to do it I have decided to delay starting the work for a while. In the meantime I have been busy doing smaller but necessary jobs which financially have cost me nothing. I am also going to take the time to build a stand for a table lamp for the small lounge as I have been unable to find one ready-made or one and of the right size which I can paint myself. As I write this on Thursday evening I am proposing to start on that tomorrow morning as I have all the materials in the cellar and don’t have to buy anything. I did very little during the morning except to dig out some weeds and a few Montbretia shoots in the rear garden. The season is just right for the Montbretia to start growing and what few I had been unable to dig out along with the Bluebells last year and earlier this year are beginning to show themselves. Montbretia, at least those in my garden, have been quite easy to remove so they aren’t really a problem. I did spend a little time relaxing on the patio before lunch and afterwards I went out shopping for the two new table lamps.

Before I could use them I replaced the supplied 13 amp plugs with 5 amp ones so that they can be switched on at the door together with the floor-standing lamp. Each of these lamps incidentally has its own switch in case I don’t wish to use them. The first picture shows the lamp I have been trying to purchase a cabinet/table for but am now making myself. The second is in its intended place alongside the computer on which I am writing this. My other computer I keep upstairs in the guest bedroom. The one you see is the larger and runs Windows 7, my preferred platform whilst the other runs Windows 10 which I don’t much like and only use if I have to. I do run it frequently though to keep it updated, especially the security programs. If you’ve got really good eyesight you may be able to read the first half of this post on the screen in the second picture! I am now able to leave the computer on top of the cabinet and sit on the stool to use it now that I have made the stand for it. It is designed to spread the load and prevent the legs of the stool from digging into the carpet. I like making things that work!

The seat cover, though not purposely a matching colour just happened to be right. It is one of two stools we have had for many years.

Shirley Anne

Had to do something

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Why is it that something goes wrong just at the wrong time? Talking about the leaking radiator in yesterday’s post it was now a case of do or die, I chose to do. I had to wait in for the guy to install the curtains and he didn’t arrive until eleven-thirty. He finished by one o’clock but as he was working I had to point out two things that were wrong , first the rail dipped in the middle and second the wood packing beneath the right-hand side bracket was longer than those beneath the other two. He was going to leave it that way until I insisted he did something about it. In the end I took the packing into the cellar and cut it to the right size for him and provided a thick washer to place beneath the centre bracket to straighten out the dip. The company booklet tells us that they employ professional installers who have years of experience. I guess the guy they should have sent wasn’t feeling well on the day! Incidentally the organisation doesn’t provide their workforce with ready-made spacers which considering they are often needed is not good practice. I should have been able to leave him to do the work and find a quality job when it was finished. That wouldn’t have been the case had I not stepped in. Anyway he left at one and a little later the radiator was delivered minutes before the new floor-standing lamp arrived. At the time of writing the lamp is still sealed in its box as I hadn’t the time to open it. I had a quick-lunch then drove off to the supplier who had delivered the radiator as I wanted to ask them a couple of questions regarding the connections. Having discussed what was needed I purchased the items for around £12 and drove back home. I spent a couple of hours trying to decide which way I could support the three radiator brackets because the shape of the skirting board made fitting them difficult. I managed to fit them and temporarily hang the radiator on them, even temporarily connecting it to the left-hand valve. Unfortunately the right-hand pipe and valve are too far away at this stage to connect them too. Added to that, the valve needs to moved to the lower position for the new radiator requires that way of connection. That will mean a complete drain-down of the system in order to cut the pipe and fit the connections. You can see in this picture taken at the end of the day.

I would be dropping the radiator the next day to enable the painting of the wood work supporting the radiator’s brackets and then replacing the radiator and making the left-hand connection permanent in the process. The other connection will have to wait until I get time to drain the system, something I am not looking forward to because refilling it can be a nightmare getting the air out in places. In any event it will take all day, perhaps two to do that work. The last time I drained the system down was when I installed the towel radiator in the wet room last year and at that time I carried out some minor alterations to pipes to make bleeding out the air easier. Maybe it will be so this time. The carpet fitter would arrive on Friday morning so I had to clear out the lounge on Thursday too. Happy days.

Shirley Anne

Never fails

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On the face of it I would have little to do on Wednesday but I was eager to do something to support the progress in the small lounge. All the decorating was done so it was down to getting the other things out-of-the-way. One of those was to refit the radiator and I did that first. All seemed to be fine with that once I had bled out the air to prevent it circulating and finding its way to the upper rooms. I raised the room thermostat to test it under operating conditions for a while before throttling back on the thermostat. The day, even that early in the morning, was warm and the heating didn’t need to be on. I moved to the coffee table and placed it back on its legs after I had painted the underside the previous day and sanded down the top surface. I then painted it again and touched-up the paint on the radiator where I had missed when painting it the day before. It was then that I noticed some water on the floor at the base of one of the supply pipes, the lower connection was leaking! It never fails does it? I try my best but sometimes it isn’t good enough. The radiator was now full of water so slackening off the connection would result in more water escaping, much more. Why couldn’t it be the top connection which wouldn’t leak out much water once the valves were closed?  It had to be the lower connection didn’t it? Anyway the problem as I saw it was not the fitting (valve) itself but grit trapped between the surfaces preventing a water-tight seal. With that in mind I slackened off the connection, the one on the right of the valve body with no paint on it and actually part of the radiator and re-tightened it a few times to allow the water to flush out anything that might be there. It worked but I checked it out a few times during the morning just to be certain. I had nothing further left to do but wait for the delivery of the piece of furniture I had bought the day before. It wouldn’t arrive until the afternoon so a visit to the pub was out of the question. You will know now that soon after the cabinet was delivered yesterday I had it coated with the primer. It was a gloriously sunny and warm day on Wednesday, ideal to sit out on the patio, if I could be tempted!

Shirley Anne

Odds and ends

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Having completed the bulk of the work in redecorating the small lounge I could begin to do the smaller jobs. The first thing I set about doing on Tuesday was to fill in a few small gaps with caulk and then store away the things I had finished using and cleaning some of the brushes. The next thing was to offer the radiator up to the wall on the brackets in order to mark the position for drilling the wall for the left-hand top bracket Having marked the position I replaced the radiator on the floor for painting later. I then drilled the wall and fixed the bracket. One of the things I had to do at some point was to clear the hearth and score the hard granite surfaces to enable the tile fixing compound to adhere when the tiles would be laid later in the week so I began doing that. I had to use the end of a metal-working file to score the surface and hoped it would be enough. That was hard work and it took me quite some time to do it. I finished that and then applied a second coat of gloss paint to the underside of the coffee table. It would be the last coat to the underside. Whilst I had the brush and paint to hand I gave the radiator a coat of white gloss paint. That may be all it needs as it was already white in colour. Once the radiator is dry I would re-fix it to the wall and connect it up but that would be a couple of days away. I had finished what I had intended to do so I made myself a coffee and sat with it out on the patio in the warm sunshine. It was eleven o’clock. Just before noon I drove to the pub and had my lunch. I got to speaking with a guy I know who is a decorator and I asked him if he was working. He told me he just got fed-up with working and had taken the afternoon off. I know exactly how he felt. I was telling him that I was looking to purchase a small sideboard but that I wanted it in white. I had been searching for one using the Internet but could find what I wanted. He suggested I visit one of the local charity stores and see if they had something so after lunch I started out to look for one. I drove to a local street in the town where I thought I might find one but on the way I recalled the Salvation Army had an outlet next to their citadel in that same street. I have often visited the citadel but never the adjacent store. I was in there for only two or three minutes when I saw something that was almost exactly what I was looking for. All it needed was to be painted white. Here it is with the drawers to the left and the shelf in front just after I had applied the same priming paint I had used for the room wood work. That wasn’t today as you read this it would be the following day an hour after it was delivered. See tomorrow’a post.  The price was £35 and they would deliver it the next day for another £5. I bought it knowing it would be unlikely that I would find a better piece of furniture and especially for that price. I think I was meant to go there. The reason I wanted a small sideboard is it will be the only piece of furniture in the room besides the seating, coffee table and television because I want to keep a minimalist theme for the room. The tall bookshelf I had in there had become so cluttered and many of the things, including the books, were hardly used. By keeping little or no storage space in the room it will stay uncluttered.

Shirley Anne

Old scars

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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.

Shirley Anne

Subtle changes

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Having been informed that the guys who were to collect the old three-piece suite might arrive as early as 6.30 in the morning I had a very early trip to bed so that I could be up well before their arrival. The reason I had to do that was because I had to shift the suite from the garage and on to the front driveway before their arrival. I couldn’t have done that the evening before as rain had been forecast overnight and the council had stipulated that the furniture had to be dry when collected! I have no idea why that should be the case unless they planned to use the furniture or sell it off for the material value. I set the alarm for 4.30 and moved the furniture outside before 5.45. I then moved the tower components back into the garage where it is kept. I had dismantled it the day before after I had cleaned the chandelier. The remainder of the work I had to do in the lounge could be done using the tall step-ladder. Once that was done I ate breakfast and waited for the guys to arrive though they needed no contact from me to do their job. I had left the gates open so they could gain access. After breakfast I was wondering what I could be getting on with because after 9.00 I was expecting the representative who would be measuring for the curtains to call. His appointment was for any time between nine o’clock and noon so if I was to do anything it would have to be in the time before he came. I located the tube of decorators caulk and the applicator gun and proceeded to fill-in the gaps around the window frame. It took the whole tube to complete the work. It is surprising just how many gaps there can be seen once the old decorations are removed. That took me thirty minutes and by now it was 8.30 and the guys collecting the suite arrived! That’s just typical isn’t it? The work I had done, small as it turned out to be was one of those subtle changes which happen when doing work of this nature, it is not noticed but makes subsequent work a lot easier and professional-looking. Once the representative had been and gone I planned to lift the old carpet, dispose of it and roll-up the underlay for re-use beneath the new carpet later. In fact I ended up lifting the carpet before he arrived. The carpet had to go at that point to enable decoration of the skirting board anyway. Well the guy arrived at 11.45 and stayed for just over an hour. When he’d gone I drove to the pub for lunch. The car park was full yet the pub was relatively empty! Service and food was great as per usual but I didn’t stop long once I had eaten as I wanted to walk into town and do some shopping. The main reason for shopping was to purchase toiletries but I was also tempted to purchase a couple of clothing items, a lightweight summer top and an equally lightweight hooded summer coat. Well I need to be treated too, it’s not just the small lounge that has that privilege.

Shirley Anne

Slight detour

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Work on the redecorating of the small lounge took a slight detour on Wednesday because I went to install a replacement cooker hob for someone. The job was easy enough but I ended up chatting with the woman for longer than perhaps I should have. Still I was back home after an hour and a half ready to do something in the lounge. Now that the ceiling and frieze are completed I decided to make use of the tower whilst it was in the room in order to clean the chandelier. Although it hadn’t been cleaned for years it was not that bad. However it didn’t compare to its condition after I had cleaned it! It is a five-light unit with lead crystal glass decorations, quite an expensive light when we bought it from the previous owner of the house and no doubt probably more so if bought today. It is one of the reasons I am loathed to replace it, the other being that I like it, it goes with the house.

That took me an hour. The next task was to empty and remove the radiator to allow decoration behind it and to repaint it later before refitting it. Refitting it will be far easier than it was to drain and remove, especially as I have no assistance. 

I wanted to do more work after lunch but decided against it. The following morning I was expecting the council team to take away the old furniture and they could possibly arrive as early as six-thirty which meant an early night for me. I was also expecting the representative who would be measuring up for the new curtains. After he would be finished I proposed to roll up the old carpet and underlay.

Shirley Anne

At last!

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At last I finished work on the ceiling in the small lounge. I started Tuesday tidying up the paint work on the two stripes which encircle the cornice or coving (see yesterday’s post for pictures). It is difficult trying to obtain  perfectly straight lines when doing this kind of work simply because of the abnormalities in the plaster work and consequently touching-up the paint afterward is often necessary. I spent an hour and a half before lunch and an hour after lunch to get it to a reasonably good finish. Whilst doing that work I took the opportunity to give the frieze another coat of paint, making three in all. Just after lunch I was looking out of one of the rear windows and took these two pictures

The time was one-thirty BST or half-past twelve GMT. The first picture is pointing directly northward. I only took them to indicate how much sunshine actually reaches the garden in the middle of the day in the month of April. The shadow will be closer to the house at Midsummer. The garden was in full sunshine during the morning as the sun was in the east and to the right in these pictures. When it swings around to the west most of the garden is again in full sunshine even at this time of year. The garden at the front points roughly south-west so gets the full sun most of the day.
Anyway back to work…I resumed painting the ceiling before moving on to apply paint primer to as much of the wood work as I could before deciding I’d had enough for one day.

Applying the primer has exposed numerous holes and gaps in the window frame though I knew there were some beforehand. Now I have to fill them all in before applying a second coat. At this point in time I guess I have covered about half of the wood work. It is taking much longer to do the work as I am doing it alone but I reckon I am doing well after only five days.

Shirley Anne

Glad to be back

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Although Sunday offered a welcome break for my physical well-being it did little to ease my impatience and eagerness to do something. It was good therefore to be able to get back to the job in hand, redecorating the small lounge. Most of the work hitherto had been centred on the ceiling and frieze and even now on the fourth day of actually working in the room there is still more to do in that area. I had begun to paint the two stripes around the cornice on Saturday and set about finishing it off on my return on Monday. As with many jobs I do I end up finding an easier way to do it as the work progresses. For painting the stripes I used a small piece of hard board to act as a guide and to prevent the paint going where it wasn’t supposed to. Using the guide also sped-up the execution of the work. However there still remains some touching-up where the colour has run on to the white paint. I expected that anyway but I will be able to touch-up the over-spill when I give the frieze another coat of paint. Anyway I got the stripes painted right around the room..

I then started on painting over the woodwork using a special paint to do it. I completed painting the first coat on the picture rail, on part of the window frame and the top half of the mantle-piece which surrounds the fireplace. There is much woodwork left to do yet, the window frame, the door frame and the door and of course the skirting board which is almost a half-metre in height, and all of that is just for the priming coat! So I am going to be rather busy in that room for quite a while yet. The end of the day turned out very sunny and I was able to spend an hour relaxing on the patio late in the afternoon. I sat and watched the antics of the numerous tits flitting about among the tree branches and the grey squirrel out on his rounds before finally returning indoors for my evening meal.

Shirley Anne

Before a break

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It is late on Saturday afternoon as I write this having completed almost three full days working at home on the small front lounge. A few days ago I had decided to completely renovate the room which although having had a change of furniture and a carpet since we moved into the house in 1988 has never been redecorated since 1989! Anyway that aside I decided on a total change, decor, furniture, everything. I was going to employ someone to do the decorating but changed my mind to do it myself. Over the last three days I have concentrated on the ceiling and as I mentioned in yesterday’s post I painted it twice. I thought it might need three coats and indeed when I looked at it this morning it still looked a little patchy in places. That meant a drive to the supplier to purchase another 5 ltr can. First job for the day though was to dig out a few bluebells which had thought I’d given up on them but no, I have been digging them out as they appear. Thankfully there are not as many now after all my hard work earlier in the year. That took a half-hour and then I phoned ahead to make sure the supplier was open. Many businesses close from Good Friday to Easter Monday so I had to make sure. They were open until 2 o’clock but I went immediately as I wanted to continue with the work. As it happened I did have enough paint to complete the second coat on the ceiling and frieze but would still need the extra can to paint parts of the ceiling which still looked patchy. I wasn’t going to do that until Monday at least but I had the extra paint ready now to hand. Finishing off the second coat and painting again the frieze and ceiling cornice for the third time on the window wall took me to lunchtime for after lunch I had decided to start painting over the dark blue stripes with the new red colour.

Incidentally, the dark-stained woodwork you can see in the pictures will eventually be painted white as the work progresses. Try as I might I couldn’t avoid spilling over the new colour on to the white parts of the ceiling. I used a piece of thin board like hard board to shield the parts of the ceiling I didn’t want the paint to touch but it was never going to be perfect. It will be easy enough to touch-up with white paint where necessary later. I stopped work at that point and wouldn’t be returning to it until Monday. Sunday was my rest day.

Shirley Anne

Twice over

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THIS OLD HOUSE WITH ITS FRIENDLY PORCH NEEDS A...

THIS OLD HOUSE WITH ITS FRIENDLY PORCH NEEDS A FRESH COAT OF PAINT AND REPAIR WORK – NARA – 550109 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday was all day working day in the small lounge. The job for the day was to finish covering that part of  the ceiling I was unable to do on Thursday through lack of time, though I had no intention of working any longer than I did. Once that was done it was time for lunch but after lunch it was time to start over again from the beginning. One coat of paint was never going to be enough, it needed another. I got as far as repainting at least three-quarters of the ceiling and frieze but it was getting late and the light was fading anyway. By that time I was ready to stop after almost eight hours. I don’t work that long doing electrical work these days! I looked over the work I’d done and began to think I might have to give it yet another coat but it was too dark to see properly. I would have to wait until the next day when it would be lighter. Twice over should be enough but if it needs another coat then another coat it will have. One problem is the fact that I will have to purchase another can of paint to do the third coat if it needs it and in fact as I write this on Friday evening I have barely enough paint remaining to finish the second coat! I would know the following day regarding that. Friday wasn’t a nice day as far as the weather was concerned so it was just as well I had something to do indoors. I think the worse job of all in decorating a room is painting the ceiling, it is tiring even when close access is possible. I am so glad I purchased the tower a couple of years ago, it has become an invaluable asset.

Shirley Anne

In earnest

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Moving on from yesterday’s post I was able to spend most of the day working at home in the small lounge. It was about 9.30 however before I made a start. There were a couple of things I had to do first, remove the six curtains and the hardware for them from the window. They are of the right length and width to be reinstalled in the rear lounge which for years hasn’t had curtains hanging there. The rear of the house isn’t overlooked so privacy was never an issue but curtains will improve the look of the room and help retain heat in the cold months, although the double-glazing we had installed around the house a few years ago does most of that work. I removed the two wall-mounted lights and a couple of items of furniture before finally getting started on the first coat of emulsion on the ceiling and frieze. I began in this corner of the room….(click on pictures to magnify)

You can see the contrast in colour on the ceiling where the new paint meets the old. Basically I followed around the room at the wall to get the frieze painted too. I managed to complete up to more than halfway around, above the windows.

Once I have completed the frieze and the ceiling edges I will move to paint the centre area. The ceiling and frieze will then need a second but final coat to blot out the existing pale blue colour. In the pictures you can see where the cornice has been painted in a darker blue forming two stripes around the room. They are going to be painted over in a shade of red to match the new furniture, carpet and curtains. I stopped work for lunch and was about to resume work when I received a call from the decorator store informing me that the wall paper had been delivered and was ready for collection. I went to collect it, resuming work on my return. I did get a couple of electrical offers of work but I turned them down as not being something I was prepared to do. As I write this on Thursday evening no doubt there will be more offers tomorrow, if not I will have plenty of things to keep me occupied in the lounge. Because the room faces roughly south-west it gets rather warm during the day when the sun is out. Sometimes that is an advantage, sometimes not. I did a little stripping . of the old wall paper where is has been possible but I will need the steam pad to get most of it off. I phoned my youngest son who had borrowed the machine some months ago but hadn’t as yet used it! He would bring it over at the weekend. I stopped work for the day at 5.30 as E had returned with the weekly shopping and it was time for my evening meal an hour later. I seem to remember doing a lot of redecorating in the first few months of last year……..mmmm.

Shirley Anne

Small lounge

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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.

Shirley Anne

Just had to

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Wanting to do things yet wanting to rest too wrestled in my thoughts but in the end I gave in to the idea of doing some more work in the garden. It just isn’t me to do nothing. Once again I received a request for my electrical services on Thursday afternoon, which I promptly did. I arose a little later than normal but only a half-hour or so and immediately after breakfast drove off to a centre which sells gardening and building materials such as ornate paving stones and slabs, fencing materials and numerous other things for outdoor projects. I had decided to purchase some lengths of natural stone which is used for capping brick walls in gardens and elsewhere. However, I wasn’t buying it for that application, I was buying it to use as edging stone for the flowerbed that runs in front of the greenhouses as I have decided to spruce it up. We are forever digging out weeds because there is insufficient ground coverage by the existing plants and some of those plants are really too small anyway. The bed really needs populating with more evergreen shrubs, especially flowering types to make it more attractive throughout the year. It gets plenty of sunshine which at the moment I feel is a little wasted on the bed if suitable plants are not there to take advantage. The existing small plants do create a splash of colour but it doesn’t last and as I said they don’t prevent the weeds from taking over. This is what it looked like about five years ago.pics-1109

Since then it has become a little bit of an eyesore. The new stone will run alongside the edge of the paving slabs though not completely to the left where larger stones will be placed to create a bit of a feature. The rear of the bed which is exposed in front of the small greenhouse will also have edging stone fitted then I propose to raise the level of the soil using that soil which is stored at present in the large white bag shown in previous recent posts. Doing that will also enable me to get at the buttress I mentioned the lower half of which I propose to render with concrete. I arrived at the garden centre to see what was available and they had exactly what I needed but only just the right amount! I arranged for them to deliver it on Friday morning as it would be too heavy to carry it in my van especially as the van was full of my own stock. The small electrical job covered half the cost of the stone so I was pleased about that. Maybe I’ll get another to cover the balance!

Shirley Anne

Now what?

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After breakfast on Tuesday I went into the garage and mixed the concrete I would be using to fill in between the newly positioned stone surround in the little plot and then I set about doing it. It took less than an hour….little-plot-5 Compare with yesterday’s picture. I use a smooth concrete mix when I fill in the gaps between natural stone used in these circumstances as it is more solid. I have found that a mortar mix is too soft. I use sand, granite dust and cement to make the ‘smooth’ concrete, the same mixture I use when laying a pathway or filling in larger areas as I had done when doing the work in the Plot a few weeks ago. There was a little of the mix remaining so I used it to reset a brick in the bottom of the buttress which was completely loose. You can see it centre-right in the picture near the wheel on the wheelie bin. The buttress itself needs repairing as I mentioned in yesterday’s post but I had almost no cement left. I intend to render the lower part, which is where the repairs need to be done, using the same concrete mix. I have the sand and the granite dust but I need a bag of cement to do it. In any case I will need to move the large white bag which stands on the path immediately to the right of the buttress so that the right-hand-side of the buttress can be rendered too. That bag has around a ton of soil in it! I may have to resort to moving the soil within the bag a little, just enough to access the wall. I certainly don’t want to move it all in the knowledge that it would have to be returned to the same place later. I would like to fit a stone edging to the long flowerbed which runs in front of the two greenhouses and in which stands the apple trees. At the far end of the bed stands a large holly tree too. The only thing preventing me from doing that job is the lack of stone! Despite the amount of stone we had rescued from burial in The Mound a couple of years ago there isn’t enough of a suitable size left, though much still remains. I will have to see what I can do, if anything, with what is left, maybe adding to it or buying something completely different.

Shirley Anne