Tag Archives: DIY

Nine in the bag

Standard

Many months ago I began writing more posts than I wanted to put out at once. At first there were only one or two but for some weeks now that number has risen to nine! It gives me a cushion if nothing else but as I think of things to write about I have to note them down else forget them. There are times I struggle with subjects to write about so it is handy having something to fall back on when that happens. I don’t like writing lengthy posts for fear of boring my readers, if anyone wishes to read more there are probably three and a half thousand other former postings to delve into. That however is entirely up to my readers. Today as I write this it is Tuesday 24 October. This post is scheduled for November 2, today as you read it. I had one of those days whereby I didn’t wish to get out of bed but I finally made it downstairs just after ten nevertheless. E had been up for an hour and had eaten breakfast whereas I just had a banana and went out for a walk. It was almost noon by the time I got back. I waited until after one before having my lunch with E. She had mentioned something about the leak we had in the downstairs front lounge, the one we haven’t used in years because it is filled with my son’s furniture. That is another story but we are fortunate to have two other lounges so not being able to use that one right now isn’t a problem. E was hinting that maybe I should be taking a look outside to see if there was anything I could do to prevent further leaks. She had noticed the leak in the bay window area when we had the storm ‘Brian’ come our way over the weekend (21/22). The wind had forced the rain behind the lead flashing we had thought but it needed looking at to determine if that was true. So before preparing lunch I got the ladder out and investigated the problem. In the area outside I discovered a loose brick, a couple of holes in the brickwork and exposed timbers behind the guttering. The area in question is at the top left-hand-side of the bay in the picture behind where the drain pipe connects to the guttering. I mixed some cement and somehow managed to squeeze it in behind the guttering to fill in the holes and cover the area with it. I also filled in other gaps in the brickwork as well as inserting some plastic sheeting beneath some of the roof tiles with which to cover the exposed timbers. The work didn’t take long and soon everything was packed away again before we went inside for lunch. At this time I cannot say how successful the repairs will be but one thing I do know is that I have done as much as I could under the circumstances. What I would really like to happen is to have the roof removed and a new redesigned version fitted instead. I have never liked the roof over the bay window. That work would be best done during the summer months. In the meantime we play the waiting game and hope the repairs are successful.

Shirley Anne

Advertisements

Walking through the day

Standard

We had been informed that warmer and drier weather was coming our way for a couple of days, an ideal time to be doing any outdoor work that was necessary. It was Saturday (14) and I had plans to do some patching up of the garage floor, completing the ramp I had put there many years ago and filling in a couple of holes with concrete after the recent work we had done. First though I wanted to go for a longish walk as I hadn’t been able to do any walking other than the two miles I had walked a couple of days earlier. I hadn’t been too well and had remained more or less indoors for a few days. I arose early and went out as soon as I was downstairs. I walked south along the coastal road to Ainsdale and onto the beach there turning northward to walk back home. I was surprised how many folk were out and on the beach so early on a Saturday morning. It was about eight forty-five when I arrived there. The round trip from home on that route is just over seven miles. I have to admit to feeling a little tired but that was probably due to my not eating breakfast and not having been out for a while. I did take a banana along with my bottle of water. Anyhow I ate breakfast on my return home and after a short time donned my overalls and got on with the concrete mixing. For this work I used 6 mm granite chippings in the mix rather than using grit which would result in a finer concrete as it would have to withstand a vehicle passing over it. These are the holes which required filling after the old wood frame was removed and the existing floor ramp which was never finished years ago…

The ramp exists because the garage floor is almost level with the concrete drive leading to it. When we had heavy downpours of rain it sometimes ended up inside the garage so I constructed a ramp to prevent that happening. It does the job but it needed the back edge finishing. Here are pictures of the finished work.

   The van wasn’t going anywhere for a couple of days! Rain water flows into the grid shown which is lower than the surrounding concrete drive. The drain pipe actually runs beneath the garage floor to connect with the main drains at the rear of the house. That work had been done when we built the garage back in 1988/9. Much has changed since then. After lunch I added an extra fixing to secure the new bird box I had fitted a week earlier then carried on with some gardening work. Who said retirement would be boring with nothing to do?

Shirley Anne

Ladders

Standard

One thing I hate are ladders but only if they are in my stockings! The other variety though come in very handy don’t they? Years ago we purchased a two-section aluminium ladder, classed then as 27 feet (8.5 metres) and it has proved to be very useful because if required only one section need be used. We acquired another more robust aluminium two-section ladder that has a pulley attachment at the top, or rather that section which would be at the top when both sections are used. I say we acquired it because I have no idea from whence it came nor to whom it belonged. It may have been owned by E’s father, who lived in the house with us but who is now deceased. In any event no-one wants to claim it though we’ve asked them. I don’t really want it either but until I can find a way to dispose of it I am lumbered with it. I may end up taking it to the dump. Once I do that I can place one or two of my other ladders on the racks instead. One of those is presently stored on the rack which the grey coloured bicycle is hanging from (last picture) but it is out of sight in the picture.In the picture above you can see we have one section of it suspended near the ceiling in the garage on the right. There are empty builder’s material bags sitting on it at the moment. The heavier section I have hung on the wall on the opposite side of the garage together with our original ladder. We did not posses a rack on which to hang ladders so me being me decided I would make some. Now it has been a while since I worked much with metal insofar as bending and shaping it under heat like a blacksmith does. I have been trained in that discipline along with many other things so I am used to it but having all the equipment at home to carry out mechanical work is not what most women would regard as normal….LOL. I have a limited variety of tools and equipment but one of the most useful is a metal-working vice of a decent size on a workbench in the cellar. It has proved its worth over the years. I found some suitable mild steel metal bars in my stock of things and using a gas-torch to heat up the metal to straighten it and the shape it I made two brackets and fixed them to the garage wall…

You can see the ladders hanging on them. I also attached some sturdy chain to aid with supporting the ladders. Because the ladder we ‘acquired’ is quite heavy, one section being almost twice as heavy as the one we purchased, the brackets might bend under the strain without that extra support. The chains could be locked too should we require it. Sorry about the detail as I took the pictures as an afterthought but if you click on them they should magnify. That was my work for a couple of hours on Monday (11th). Speaking of stockings by the way, it is getting nearer that time of year when I resume wearing them….but without the ladders!

Shirley Anne

Time slot

Standard

Following on from yesterday’s post it turned out that the weather was favourable on Saturday after all. I am referring to recovering the top of the garage wall with a concrete mix. When discussing the work with E’s nephew the builder he assured me that the seal between the fibreglass and the brick walls would not let in water. Well he would have been right in that assumption had the joint been against a smooth and flat surface but brickwork as you might guess is far from that, especially if the wall is aged and the mortar has given way in places! I checked inside the garage for any leaks the following day and sure enough there were four of them, though one was not associated with the new roof alteration work. They were all but one very minor and that which was worse wasn’t too bad, just bad enough to do something about it! Any leaks are undesirable, especially after new work has been done. Part of the problem was due to the top layer of bricks not keeping out the water because the mortar had cracked and some weeds had found a home in them. I had suggested all the bricks have new mortar or be repaired but nothing was taken on board. Any builder worth his salt would have ensured the wall he would be securing something to was solid enough to take it. Seems our builder didn’t think it was necessary. At the end of the day it didn’t matter because I could carry out the repairs to the brickwork myself. All I needed was a time slot in which to do it. The weather forecast hadn’t been promising and rain was said to be on its way to stay for a few days. There was just the one slight opportunity after lunch on Saturday when it would remain dry for about the next sixteen hours. It was raining when I arose and it didn’t stop until about ten-thirty. We knew that marked the beginning of the short dry spell so I took the opportunity and began the work. Here is the result…

The topping is a fine concrete mix, that is sand, grit and cement rather than just sand and cement in order to give it durability and strength. The same mix is used when laying a footpath and at the rear of our house there is a footpath constructed using the same mix. It has been there for 28 years and is as good as the day it was laid. Not only have I put a layer on the top (where it was needed) I have put some on the sides too as that was where water was getting in mostly. That should have been done by the builder before the new roof seal was applied so that the fibreglass could be placed over it. That can still be done should there be any more problems but I have a feeling it won’t be necessary. The rain held off until well after the concrete had set. Timed to perfection. The work had taken about thirty minutes to do.

Shirley Anne

Extra work

Standard

After E’s nephew and his crew had finished their work on the garage roof alterations I finally got the opportunity to finish the electrical work on Friday morning. The task was to wire-in the new power outlet from the existing circuit in the garage but before I could do that I had to remove some now unnecessary lighting cabling and tidy up what remained. In the picture below all that work took place at ceiling height on the left above the ladders and scaffolding stored there and toward the door out of sight on the left. It would have taken far too long to shift everything to gain better access but the ladders and scaffolding were actually a benefit as I could climb them to reach the ceiling!

Once that was done I set about fitting a little extra support beneath one of the timbers. In the next picture it is the piece on the left flat against the wall at ceiling height. Let me explain. When the garage was built not all of the joists had been inserted into the house wall (the wall in the picture). Some had been supported by another joist which had been secured between two that went into the wall. It sounds complicated but in essence some of the joists could not be inserted in the wall where there is chimney stacks, and there are two of those along the length of the house wall.  

In the picture above two of the three joists had been inserted into the wall whilst the middle was supported by the timber lying flat on the wall. The left-hand joist of the two which were inserted into the wall had to be cut and removed.  It ran alongside the steel beam you can see top left. Now that short piece of timber on the wall was only secured to the outer timbers. Although the nails are intact and still in place the timber had been moved and it left a gap as you can see. My task was to fit a short length of timber to the wall beneath it thus giving more support (not shown in the picture).  It probably would be fine without it but I never take chances when it comes to structural integrity. At the opposite end of the now removed joist the crew had kindly left the hole unfilled. In the picture below it is immediately adjacent to the steel beam (top right).

It was awkward to get at and it needed much filling. I used a fine concrete mix and a brick. When bricklayers build double-thickness garden walls, which in fact the wall in the picture above is, they never bother to fill the gaps fully between the two bricks. Saving mortar I guess. The wall we reckon is as old as the house (1877). Later in the day I went to the top of the house to see E who was busy in her workshop  and I looked again at the roof…

…and noticed something that needs attention. In the picture above on the far side of the roof the top of the wall can be seen and it was capped with a layer of mortar when the garage roof had been constructed. Some of that mortar needs to be replaced, about one-third of it toward the front at the right-hand-side. When the weather permits I will do that work myself but I won’t be using just mortar, I will use a fine concrete mix instead, it is much stronger and less prone to cracking in the heat of the sun.

Shirley Anne

More blind men?

Standard

The mistakes are there, you just don’t see them. I cannot say with hand on heart that anything I do is perfect, nobody can but hey, I think I get pretty close sometimes. Well I think so. Good intentions are sometimes pushed aside once work progresses and unforeseen problems occur.It is all about just getting on with it and tackling problems as they surface. It is either that or don’t do the work yourself. For me, I am used to it all and half-times expect a rough ride now and then. It is satisfying nevertheless to be able to do things for myself despite the difficulties along the way. On Friday and Saturday last week I constructed the gate for the latest project and fitted it on Saturday morning. Here is the finished article…(click on images to magnify)

The rear view (top picture) shows a diagonal piece of timber at the top which isn’t a match for the rest of the wood. It was simply that I had used all the timber I had bought to construct the gate so had to use something from my stock. The timber is sold in four-metre lengths and I wasn’t about to buy that much just for the short length needed. I had intended to use timber from my stock for the whole project but found I hadn’t enough which is why I purchased new. I don’t know about blind men on galloping horses but it looks alright to me! Now I am planning my next project……

Shirley Anne

Montbretia at thirty paces

Standard

Another warm and humid day on Thursday yet I had determined to arise early and do some more work in the garden before it got too warm and sticky. Alas it didn’t work out that way as by the time I had finished breakfast it was already uncomfortable to work in. The repairs to the brickwork I had done on the raised bed the day before was now solid. The job I had in mind this time was to mix some, well quite a bit, of concrete made with granite dust (granno). I wanted to place it along the joints between the paving slabs and the border stones I had placed around the Mound and the west wall flowerbed. When I did the stone border along the long flowerbed a couple of months ago I formed a substantial joint along the whole length in order to prevent gaps appearing either caused by the weather or more likely the activity of ants! Ants have been very active lately along the west wall flowerbed border and also along the front edge of the Mound where they face the lawn and a couple of gaps have appeared along with the tell-tale sign of excavated soil. I’ll say one thing for ants, they certainly work hard. However I had to shelve the idea of doing the work until it gets a little cooler. I was sitting at the computer late morning when I received a call for my services. Someone not far away wanted me to replace a ceiling light. I was happy to do it and off I went. I was back home twenty-five minutes later. I waited a short time before having lunch after which I sat out on the patio for a while. I noticed the ‘bib tap’ (faucet similar to that shown in picture)  was leaking water from the handle yet it was valved-shut.

English: Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine ...

Metal engraved tap (valve) in Fužine castles yard, Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The garden hose is usually kept connected to this tap in the rear garden whereas we keep the hose for use in the front garden in one of the garages and connect it to the tap there when we want to use it. The packing seal, usually called the stuffing box, was worn so I used some PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape to wrap around the stem which effectively cured the leak. Now I was keen to do something else but there was little else to do so I sat it out again on the patio before watering the garden plants. I thought I would sit a while longer outside to relax and enjoy the view but I spotted a montbretia sticking out of the soil on the far side of the garden, about thirty metres away! When you have been digging out montbretia and bluebells for weeks on end (see earlier posts) you get to spot them as soon as they appear. Actually I don’t know how five minutes earlier I hadn’t seen it when watering the plants.

Shirley Anne

All things new?

Standard

I woke up on Saturday morning fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I wanted to give the new pillar stand a coat of gloss paint but first I had to move it into the boiler room where it is always warm. The room it was in whilst under construction is a far cooler room and the paint had been taking a longer time than normal to dry. I am talking about the primer/undercoat which is supposed only to take thirty minutes to be touch dry under normal temperatures. The workshop along with the room beneath the small lounge are always cool because the ground outside at the front of the house is raised above ground level. See behind the flowerbed the raised portion. 

I moved my ‘workmate’ bench into the boiler room too so that I could place the stand on it whilst painting. It didn’t take long to paint it but it will need another coat later. That done I decided to clean up the cellar hallway carpet and the floor in the workshop where I had been working. It was covered in sawdust. That took some time but soon I was finished. I waited until E had gone out after her lunch to her monthly meeting and then I retrieved the tall ladder from the garage where I had put it after completing the lounge project and moved it into the rear lounge. I wanted to fit the curtain rail in there and hang the curtains which I had removed from the small lounge a few weeks ago. First though, I had to strengthen the centre support by placing a metal tube through the support for the poles to be inserted and skim the ends of the poles so they would fit. It didn’t me take long to complete the whole job, about an hour…

I had skipped lunch as I wasn’t hungry at the time but made a sandwich when I had finished working and whilst I was making a vegetable and chicken stew for my evening meal. It was so late when I ate the sandwich that I left the stew for the following day.

The pan is larger than it looks for there is enough stew in it for three meals and it is only half filled. Anyone for stew? That done I went into the rear garden to water some of the plants, those which are under a canopy of leaves in the warmer months. It had been raining earlier but there was little or no wind which would normally blow the rain beneath the trees so occasionally I have to water those plants myself.

The plants affected are all in the long flowerbed (shown above) though in this picture taken in late Winter there were no leaves to form a canopy. That was it, finished for the day and time to relax.

Shirley Anne

Manufacturing mode

Standard

So there I was on Friday morning again with no electrical work and the whole day to myself. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I was going to build a stand for one of the new table lamps I had purchased. Soon after I had written the post I found myself in the rooms at the top of the house looking for something and discovered two suitable candidates for a table lamp to sit upon. Both would have needed painting white and the furniture on them would have needed changing to match what is already in the small lounge. Ah but alas they belonged to one or both of my two sons and though I doubt either of them were actually wanted by my sons there was no way I was going to take one or even ask. No, I had made up my mind to manufacture one myself so after breakfast I began the work. The first task was to find enough material from the stock of left-over bits and pieces from jobs we have had done in the past. I have always kept the scrap lengths of timber or sheets of board that were left after a job we’d had done as long as they were large enough to warrant keeping them. As we have cellar rooms there is plenty of storage space to allow that. After finding enough material I began by cutting four pieces of board to size which I would use for the side panels. Next I found some lengths of square sectioned wood to use for fixing the sides together to form a hollow square tube. I cut another piece of board to form a base and fixed that to the tube. Finally I found a slightly larger piece of board with which to form the top. Here is the almost completed pillar…..

I placed it in the cellar hallway in order to take the photograph. The work was done in the room we call the workshop to the bottom and right of this shot. It is called the workshop for a very good reason….it is one! Many a job has been carried out in that room over the years. The picture doesn’t show the fact that when it was taken the top had yet to be fixed. I did that next and then gave the whole thing a coat of priming paint. Once that was dry, about two hours later, I filled in all the gaps. It will need sanding down before another coat of paint is applied.

Shirley Anne

Everything has slowed down…….

Standard

……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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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