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?
I was up early on Friday and soon after breakfast I began working in the small lounge once more. It was 8.30 and I was ready to go. First job was to apply the priming coat to the skirting board, door frame and door. The window and the fireplace were already done earlier. It took some time to get around the room but the finish didn’t need to be perfect as the paint was only a primer and in this case was being used to blot-out the mahogany stain too. All the stain has now gone. Next job was to strip off the wall paper which I had not been able to remove while it was dry. Now some people might use a steam pad to wet the wall paper but I use cold water applied with a brush and while the water is sinking through the surface in one place I use the scraper or even fingers to remove the paper elsewhere. Most of the time it comes off, well falls off in sheets! The only difficult part is where the top vinyl layer has not been stripped off first which then means the process has to be done twice. As I had already stripped much of the paper from the wall when it was dry there was little of the top layer left.
That work took me into the afternoon, with a break for lunch and then I decided to apply the first coat of white gloss paint to the window frame. It was surprisingly easy and could almost pass with just the one coat but it will get two.
You may notice that the carpet has gone but not the underlay. When I purchase a new carpet the underlay will be replaced too though the existing one is quite serviceable apart from a small area near the door which I think was water damaged when a liquid had been spilled and then washed off with water. It wasn’t replaced when we had the last carpet change over fifteen years ago so having a new one is probably a better idea. It was four o’clock and I was finished for the day. I am happy with the progress and am enjoying doing the work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Something had to change with the weather. Over the last few weeks October has been anything but October as far as the weather is concerned, it has been warm, dry for most of the time and sunny too. However on Friday and Saturday it became noticeably dull and damp. I have been working in the garden once again this time putting stone borders around a couple of flowerbeds as you have read in my recent posts. On those two days the humidity was so high the air was wet enough to create a very fine drizzle but so light it seemed to hang in space rather than drop to the ground. I wore overalls which kept me dry enough for the couple of hours I was outside. Most of the time I was on my knees on a garden kneeling stool as I dug out the soil to insert the stone slabs. As I write this on Saturday afternoon the work isn’t completed but there is no hurry. All the stone has been set in place at the front of the flowerbed I have been working on but the rear of the bed to the right of the larger greenhouse has yet to be done and then I have to fill in the gaps with a concrete mix as I have done elsewhere. I could have continued into the afternoon but I wanted a break from it. The small part of the bed on the extreme right of the bed contains rhubarb corms and was surrounded with stone about two years ago. When I took the photo of the flowerbed I took one of the right-hand end of the longest bed in the garden and now I am thinking of putting a stone edging there too. The part of this bed where the wall is exposed needs more plants to populate it though the plants already there will grow and fill out most of the space which now looks a little bare. The small tree on the right of that space is an oak tree and beneath it are the last few bluebell bulbs waiting to sprout in Spring and I am waiting to dig them out as E and I did with the others around the garden. Nice as bluebells are they spread all over the place and get out of hand if left alone. It might be a laborious prospect digging them out but it is the only sure way of getting them out. Already I am planning what to do next year!
Click on images to magnify or zoom in.
In my previous post I mentioned I had purchased some natural stone for edging a flowerbed. They were to deliver the goods the following morning so I made it my business to get up early just in case they arrived early too. It was fortunate that I did that for indeed they did arrive early. My delivery had in fact been the last on the route so I can’t imagine how early the others had been delivered. Mine had been at 8.20. I helped the guy place the twenty lengths of stone in the garage and then returned indoors. I returned outside an hour later and my first task was to yet again clear up some leaves. I had in fact cleared many the day before using the vacuum/shredder but now these were wet after the overnight rain we’d had so I elected to use a broom and shovel instead. It was quite tiring work because the humidity was high and so was the temperature for the time of year. No wind was blowing either just to add to the discomfort. I then wheeled the bin into the front garden where the other bin stood. They were both almost filled to the top but I had a tall rose plant that needed pruning back and wanted to put the cuttings into the bins too. Somehow I got them in with further cutting and pressing them down. Funny how rose thorns still manage to prick fingers protected by gloves! Both wheelie bins were now completely filled and would be emptied the following Monday. I knew that at least one of them would end up full almost immediately afterward as there were still leaves lying about when they had been full and the trees had not shed all of their leaves either. I took a break and went inside for a coffee returning a little later to transport the stone from the garage and place it alongside the flowerbed.. It was now lunchtime so I went indoors again. Whether I continued with the work on Friday will be revealed in the next post.
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.
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!
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…. 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.
I am trying to make the most of a: the fine weather and b: the fact that I’ve taken a two-week break but it seems I work too fast! I don’t think I do. I just plod on regardless, never looking at my watch because I don’t have one but just relying on what my tummy is telling me and sometimes my bladder too! I made a start on my current little project on Monday morning but I doubt it will be ‘current’ for very long. I write this on Monday afternoon and I think the little project will be complete by tomorrow. The little plot was in dire need of some care and attention and really needed a small retaining wall in place as well as you will have seen in yesterday’s post. After only two hours work on Monday morning I had gotten this farAll the stones were first shifted and stored on the raised concrete area behind the garage, a very useful place to store things temporarily for short-term or long-term. Over the years all kinds of things have rested there before moving them for use. Anyway as you can see I managed to dig out around the bed removing a few edging tiles from the right-hand-side before placing the large natural stone slabs along the three sides. I took a break at this point to go indoors and prepare some lunch just after twelve. E was at the top of the house doing some craft work (making greetings cards) and wouldn’t be down for lunch until nearer two o’clock. She gets up later than I most days and therefore has a late breakfast. I like to be up and about early most of the time. After lunch I continued with the work which was mostly digging out the weeds, filtering the soil and generally cleaning the site before washing everywhere with the hose.
All that remains to be done is to fill in the spaces and gaps with a smooth concrete mix which shouldn’t take long. To the right of the green wheelie bin you may see the buttress which had been built before we moved into the house back in 1989. It is in need of attention as there are a couple of loose bricks and missing mortar near the base. I have an idea I will render the lower half of the buttress using a smooth concrete mix too. What will be next?