And finally

The utility room project as of today (21 st Nov. my birthday as it happens) is all but finished. All that needs to be done is to give the internal face of the room’s door a top coat of white paint and the internal face of a small piece of timber above it a coat of red paint. As I had sawn off a centimetre or so from the top of the door to allow it to open beneath the woodwork I had fitted (explained in yesterday’s post), I had to fix a length of timber to effectively lower the top of the door frame on the outside.

I seem to have a knack when it comes to hanging doors, they all hang properly whenever I work on them. I shouldn’t complain should I? This door however still has a warp on it. The bottom right as you look at the picture doesn’t sit against the frame. Since hanging it the door sits better than it did but to remove the warp will take time. It is an historical thing and should have been corrected years ago. To straighten out the warp I will have to fit packing to the top right of the frame and keep the door locked in the closed position when the room isn’t in use. Over time this will straighten the right hand edge but it will probably take months. It is either this way or dismantle the door and start over and I am not prepared to do that. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I would like to sort out the workshop. After tidying much of it up this morning it looks a lot better though it is far from being the way I’d like it to be.

As you can see it is rather full! My next indoor project will be to give the cellar hallway a make-over. That work is much more basic that the previous cellar room projects so it shouldn’t take long to do when I decide to start it that is.

Shirley Anne


Just got on with it

I spent a little more time in bed on Tuesday morning as I wasn’t going for a walk and neither had I any intentions of doing any work. The main reason for not working was that I didn’t wish to disturb E so early knowing I would have some timber to saw and holes to drill. Although her bedroom is two floors above the cellar workshop where I would be working I am still fearful I might awaken her if I work there. When I had to make a noise in the utility room on occasion it was rare that the noise would be loud enough to be a problem and at that time I could close the door. So it was around nine-fifteen that I was able to do the work I wanted to do which was to saw the timber and construct the five  side kick boards. After that I painted them but didn’t fit them until later when the paint had dried and only then did I fit two of them. The bracket on the rear (same for all five) is to allow it to slide over the rear legs of each of the cabinets whilst the front edge would be held by a plastic corner piece. (See second picture)

The front boards are held by the clips provided. Soon after I had fitted the two side boards to the unit shown above E and I went out for an hour or so for a coffee and to conduct some business. On our return home I installed the old utility room wall cabinet over the bench in the workshop and then set about working on the utility room door. I cut a small amount from the top edge to allow a little space below the woodwork I had installed above the entrance. I removed the two old and broken hinges and fitted three in their place before giving the door a priming coat of paint.

I would love to sort that workshop out but there is little time for that and too much junk in there at the moment.

Shirley Anne


Less but more

The title seems to be a contradiction but this is what I mean, I did less of working on the utility room project and more on securing the plastic tunnel in the garden after high winds had loosened everything. When I arose at two it was still dark of course and I didn’t pay any attention or give any thought that the wind might have been a problem. It was the 13 th, a wet, windy and miserable day but it didn’t stop me going for a walk. I bore in mind that the wind was blowing from the south-west with intermittent heavy rain showers so I set off in the opposite direction. When I reached the place where I would normally turn toward the seafront I chose to walk inland instead for I didn’t wish to walk back into the wind and showers. Choosing to walk through the town’s streets offered shelter from the wind but I chose to walk home through an indirect route for the extra distance. On my return home I wasn’t in any hurry to begin work but when I did the first thing I did was to clear the room of tools. Next, I moved the two freezers away from the centre of the room to their permanent resting places so that I could fill in the gaps on the floor with cement. 

The picture was taken hours later when the cement had almost completely dried. I wasn’t going to paint the floor that morning for I wanted to paint the worktops with their final coat of paint. Before I could do that I went into the garden to use the left-over cement to patch up an area in the stone pathway behind the Mound by the lamp post. As I was returning into the house I noticed the tunnel needed some attention but first I painted the worktops, (both pictures).

Finally I was able to undo the wind damage but it took quite some time for the wind was still blowing strong. When E and I assembled the steel frame we fixed the two side bars to the outside of the structure and didn’t realise they should have been fixed on the inside so as not to interfere with the plastic covering. The wind had caused chafing of the cover by the two ends of the bars so my first job was to re-fix the bars on the inside. Not easy in the windy conditions with the cover in place but I didn’t take long doing it. I then set about securing the structure and fitting some bubble-wrap sheeting to the inside of the plastic cover and generally securing it as best I could, I also weighed down the structure with ropes and concrete slabs, Hopefully that would keep everything in place until Spring. Time will tell. I had just about enough of work so I suggest to E that we dine out for a change. By mid-morning the weather had changed dramatically , it was now blue skies and sunshine though still a little windy. We drove about four miles to a canal-side pub called The Saracens Head in a small hamlet and enjoyed one of the best meals we’d had in a long time. Well worth the trip.

Shirley Anne     

Ah the smell of paint!

Or to be more accurate the smell of chlorinated rubber paint! Monday the twelfth (what a peculiar word twelfth is) of November and my favourite time of year because it is Autumn and cool. I wasn’t so cool earlier this morning as the sweat poured from my face and threatened to fog up my mask. Remember my mask? Here’s a reminder…

Yes it was time to paint the utility room floor, those parts I could reach of course until the freezers are moved from the middle of the floor but first I had something else to do. After breakfast at three I donned my overalls and gave the front of the easel a coat of paint now that the reverse had dried.

Then it was on to the cabinet tops in the utility room where I fitted the back edge timbers to the wall on top of the cabinets.

When they were finished I set about giving the floor its first coat of paint so on went the mask and down onto my knees I went spending around an hour to cover the exposed floor areas.

I couldn’t wait to get outdoors for a while and take off the mask. After a minute or so I returned indoors, removed my overalls made a cup of coffee and returned outdoors to drink it. That was the end of my working day, at least in the cellar. I takes hours for the fumes to dissipate even with doors and windows open. The floor will need another coat of paint before the freezers can be placed against the walls, then I can finish off the floor in the middle of the room. Two further tasks I need to undertake before the room is completed, installing the kick boards and making the inspection trap under the boxing-in structure near the window.

Shirley Anne


At last the weekend was here, not that it really makes much difference to me these days being as I am retired. Retired? That’s a laugh. Though I retired from my electrical work early last year I still work at home as my readers will have already gathered. I suppose therefore that it is more a psychological thing that I still regard the weekends as times for easing back and doing little. Sundays I don’t work anyway. My latest project has kept me busy, so much so that I have been very tired occasionally over the last two to three weeks. On Saturday (10 th) I arose as if in automatic mode and ready to begin work, after breakfast and watching some catch up tv of course. Well as far as the work was concerned there was little of it I wanted to do. The previous day I had cemented the gaps and cracks in the floor where it had been possible and it had dried enough to paint over it. However, painting the floor was the last thing I wanted to do for I had decided to paint it on the Monday to ensure it was absolutely dry. There were two other jobs I wanted to do on the day. The first was to construct a display easel for E to use when she sets up to sell the greetings cards she has been making. The second job was to cut some timber with which to use as edging at the back of the work surfaces in the utility room. Before I knew it I had both completed in very little time, just like an automaton would do! 

I could only paint the rear of the easel at that time. I painted the edging timbers where they would be in contact with the walls to save having to ‘cut-in’ with the paint later. Following that work I spent a short time in the garden and ensuring I put as much green waste in the bins as I could for the Monday collection, the last one of the year. Most of the cut branches and twigs from my pruning back the plum trees a couple of days earlier I managed to squeeze in. The remainder would go into the emptied bins and be left there until the next collection day in March!

Shirley Anne

Same again

It is Friday 9 th as I write and I am pleased that I was able to do more than I had expected in the utility room. I say this because soon after my early morning walk I felt so tired I didn’t want to do anything. However soon after breakfast I got stuck in and felt better for it. I think my work keeps me going, without it I would soon wither away! I finished off painting the walls having first dragged the room’s door into the workshop to get it out of the way. I would work on it later for it requires a lot of attention. I also dragged the two freezers standing on the floor (the third is on a small plinth) to the centre of the room to allow the floor to be worked on. After an early lunch I gave the ceiling its second and final coat of paint and then mixed some cement with which to fill in the gaps in the exposed parts of the floor.

Once the cement sets and dries I will be able to paint it a couple of times just as I have done in the gym and larder rooms. Only then will I be able to move the freezers to their respective spaces and do the same with the part of the floor they are presently standing on. I hope to begin the painting of the floor on Monday next (12 th). In the meantime there are other things to be getting on with, if I can stay awake!

Shirley Anne

Plodding along

Walk day Monday 5 Nov. Although I gave myself a day of complete rest on Sunday I was biting at the bit on Monday morning wanting to do something but first the walk. A lovely cool and dry morning with very little wind made the walk that more pleasurable. Back home for breakfast after which I began working in the cellar. I began by getting the cables for the power outlets in the utility room inside the distribution board and ready for connecting but leaving that aside until I had separated the circuit in the room. If you remember I mentioned that the power outlets in the room were connected to a circuit on the floor above and needed to be disconnected from it and have their own supply. Separating the two circuits was easy as it just meant re-arranging the cables in two adjacent junction boxes. You can see them in the picture below on the right-hand-side 

The single power outlet on the left in the picture by the door was part of the upstairs circuit but I removed it, connected the relevant wires together and fitted a blank plate over them (top picture below). The freezer shown plugged in was then plugged into one of the new outlets to the left out of the picture. For the next couple of hours I began filling in the gaps around the woodwork and the holes in the ceiling and walls (bottom pictures). I returned upstairs around nine-thirty for something to eat and to chat with E for a while. She was going to pay a visit to her mom and I decided to drive to the electrical supplier and purchase an LED strip light to replace the old fluorescent fitting in the utility room. I would have left installing it until the next day but installed it as soon as I returned home. It only took ten minutes.

Shirley Anne

Work later

Though I was up at two o’clock and had eaten breakfast by three-fifteen I didn’t wish to begin work and in any case would have given myself an hour before doing so. I sat and watched some catch-up tv and a couple of episodes of a new drama I had previously missed but wanted to see. After the tv I went into the kitchen and prepared a Spaghetti Bolognese for later in the morning. It wasn’t until nine o’clock that I finally put on my overalls to go downstairs. The work I had to do all involved cutting and fitting plywood and by hand as I don’t possess a circular saw except the one I use for making mitred joints. After so long cutting by hand it gets tedious and is tiring work. Needless to say not a huge amount was done, only four pieces but two of them proved a little tricky. Mistakes were made and some work had to be done again. The most awkward part was cutting the eight by four (feet) sheet of plywood on a makeshift deck out in the garage to obtain the sizes I needed to carry on with the work inside. 

There only remained the end triangular piece to cut and fit on that side of the room by the time I had finished for the day at one o’clock. Earlier I had removed the door so that I could work on it later and also to give me space to finish the area above the opening.

I don’t know how it had managed to stay in place for so long as both hinges were damaged and their fixing screws hardly gripped the frame. It will need new hinges and I will be able to trim the top edge which is uneven. E had gone next door to visit our neighbour and to see if she was alright. I followed a little later and we spent some time there. Both her son and her care worker were there. We learned that our neighbour had been smoking again. It was the effects of smoking which almost killed her a few months ago. She has severe emphysema and can hardly breathe. It just shows how addictive smoking can be for some people, especially if they’ve no will power to give it up.

Shirley Anne

More shopping and stuff

It was now Thursday 1 st November but slightly warmer than it had been of late. Even so it was only 8 deg C as I stepped out of the house on my way for my early morning walk. I was wearing the new Wellington boots just to break them in though I doubt they will become my regular footwear for walks but I may just wear them occasionally. They are more suited for wearing when working in the garden though E says they are too good for that as they are fur-lined and fashionable. I do have basic Wellington boots which have steel toe cap protection and they do get used when gardening in wet weather. It rained constantly whilst I was out and I didn’t expect to come across anyone for that reason. However as I walked along The Promenade a guy wearing only trousers and shoes crossed over to my side of the road ahead of me. He was soaking wet and probably cold though he also probably couldn’t feel it because he was drunk. He approached me to say hello and broke into a one-sided conversation. He told me that he had just been ‘mugged and threatened with a shooter’ but I doubted that was true. Why is it that drunken people think they know you? He told me that he knew me and had seen me in a certain supermarket a few times. I told him he was mistaken for I didn’t shop in the supermarket he mentioned, which I don’t. Then he invites me to his flat (apartment) for a cup of tea! Just then a police patrol car stopped to question him and I took the opportunity to walk away. There had been many patrol cars passing by along the route I had taken which was unusual for usually there are none. I thought they were looking for someone or a group of people as they circled the area. The rest of my walk was uneventful as it normally is when I am out that early. A couple of hours after breakfast found me shopping again but only for the weekly food stock. This time I was wearing knee-high boots of a more fashionable style though I suppose I could have worn the new Wellingtons! It was around ten-fifteen when I decided to put on my overalls and do some work in the utility room. Actually I spent most of the time in the garage cutting the plywood sheet for it was too large to get it into the workshop. A couple of hours later I had finished for the day as I was too tired to carry on but I managed to fit some sheets of plywood…..


There was always tomorrow to do more.

Shirley Anne


Sorry not the spectator sport though that I used to find fascinating. Since those days however my attitude to the sport has changed somewhat. I no longer want to see two individuals beating each other up in the ring. The sport is dangerous and can cause severe injury, especially brain damage. No, I am talking about boxing-in something you don’t wish to be on view for whatever reason. I live in an old Victorian house which was built in 1877 and it has seen many changes both to its exterior and interior over the years. Because it has cellar rooms (which were used by the servants at the time) many of its more recent services, central heating pipes, gas and electricity cabling were run on the surface which down there is bare brick. No consideration was given to repairing holes knocked through from one room to another or through the lath and plaster ceilings. As the years went by more circuits and pipes were added and the result is chaos and a very untidy mess. During this past year I have been working in a few rooms down there doing refurbishment and alterations, the Larder room, the Gym/boiler room and now the Utility room. In each of those rooms I have had to tidy up the services as best as I could but in the current project, the Utility room I had decided to hide away as much of the services as I could. That means boxing them in with timber and plywood. On Thursday (25 th) I had begun that work and I continued with it on Friday for a few hours.

I was feeling tired by ten-thirty after five hours at it so I packed it in for the day. I had been for a four and a half mile walk beforehand though! It appeared that I would have to purchase more plywood despite having  quite a lot in stock. The above pictures show only the one side of the room. There are more pipes and cables on the opposite wall and on the adjacent wall to it. 

Shirley Anne