Step up to the mark

Another busy time last week. After doing two jobs on Monday and Tuesday I thought that would be the end of my electrical work for the week and indeed I had earned enough to be satisfied by then. However things changed and I found I had two more jobs come my way on Friday which I naturally took on board. I had plenty of time on Wednesday and Thursday as well as Saturday (as I write this) to carry on with work at home. Currently I have been altering the steps in the boiler room by the door which leads out to the garden. I had completed the other step which leads out of the room to the cellar hallway a few days previous. The two steps leading out into the garden are being converted into three steps to make the risers less high and therefore easier to use especially for E who has to use a walking stick most of the time. The first thing I had to do, which I did some days ago, was to construct another step using bricks as a wall and filling the space with rubble and concrete. On Thursday morning I made a wood frame to surround that step and poured or rather trowelled a screed mix (concrete but using granite chippings in place of stones which make the mix smoother) onto and around the step. I removed the wood frame on Friday afternoon to allow the screed to dry out completely so that I could carry out the same procedure on the step above, the original step that was too high, to make it longer and to top it off. This would make the dimensions of both steps the same. The final step is the threshold itself which didn’t need altering.Steps You can see in the picture the now dried out step at the base and the top step levelled out with still wet screed inside the wooden shuttering. I have used bricks and stones to keep the shuttering in place as there isn’t a great deal of pressure on it from the cement screed. For larger works I would have screwed battens to the walls and floor to contain the wooden shuttering and in fact whilst I was constructing the round step across the room I held the screed in place with stiff plastic that had been held in place with battens at each end. This work is very simple to do, the hardest bit is mixing the concrete or screed by hand! When I constructed the round step I had to use a lot of concrete and screed so I employed the use of the mixer but for this smaller set of steps that wasn’t worth doing. You can see the concrete step that forms the threshold under the door. That simply needs facing off in places to fill some holes that are there, especially near the bottom but I can’t do that until the screed is set hard, which will be tomorrow, Sunday afternoon as I write this. E wants to paint the steps when I have finished. I have yet to make up my mind about what I am going to do with some of the drain pipes but I think I will be choosing the easier option! My next major project is to level the floor in the room we hope to convert into a garden toilet but I have to remove half of the existing floor tiles first. They are laid directly onto compressed sand. I have already done some of that work some weeks ago but as you know other things have taken precedence. No rush though.

Shirley Anne


Scream and scream again

Distillery District, Toronto
Distillery District, Toronto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a day! On Thursday morning directly after breakfast I went down into the cellar to see what extra materials I would need in order to continue with constructing the steps in the boiler room. E had just returned upstairs to have a shower and wash her hair. She generally has breakfast before getting dressed. I on the other hand am washed and dressed before breakfast. I went into the garage and unloaded a few items from my van so that I could buy some sand and granite chippings and have it placed in the van rather than have it delivered. It was such a small quantity it wasn’t worth having it delivered, besides which they would charge me £10 for doing so and I wouldn’t get it delivered until the following day. Unless I am buying large quantities I tend to fetch it myself. Anyway I got the two bags of sand and the one bag of what I thought was chippings out of the van and onto the garage floor. The bag I thought was chippings was in fact grit and the bag had partially opened because the guys had thrown the bags into the van whilst I was at the counter paying for it. I had deliberately left a clear space for the bags to lie flat but they threw them over an extension lead drum and cable I had stored in there instead. I immediately returned to the builders yard with the grit and complained to the guy at the desk who apologised on behalf of  the other two guys and replaced the grit with a bag of chippings laying it flat in the space I had made. Finally I was back home for the second time and made myself ready to do some work. E was still in the bathroom and didn’t appear until much later. I was a little annoyed with her for not even asking if I wanted any help with the work. She can only do a limited amount but even that much is of great benefit and assistance to me. She usually does help whenever she can. It meant I had to do everything, get the mixer out and position it on its stand, empty out the wheelbarrow so I could pour the mixed screed into it and thereafter shovel it into a bucket to carry it into the cellar. Of course I had to move the bags of materials outside and shovel the necessary amounts into the mixer and mix them, adding water until it was ready for use. That was the easy part, I had to tip it onto the step I was constructing and level it all out. I had to fill the mixer twice and then had to shovel it all into a bucket several times to relay it indoors to the job. Whilst I was levelling the mix to form the final screed coat of the new step I had to ensure the mixer was filled with water and left rotating, the wheelbarrow was filled with water and any cement covered tools were left in water until I could clean them all. E would normally have done the cleaning using the hose pipe and attended on the minor things that needed to be done allowing myself to concentrate on actually doing the job. Afterwards of course I had to return everything back into storage and whist doing so received an invitation to do an electrical job. I made arrangements to do it the following day. It had been a warm and humid day and I was feeling it whilst working. The job was indoors in the boiler room so it was warm in there and I was wearing overalls too! I had to wash my feet before I could return into the house via the front door as I couldn’t return via the cellar. Before I left the boiler room and after everything had been cleared away I filled in the new step by the outside door in the room with some hard-core material ready for it to be concreted over as with the step I had just completed across the room. I will probably do that on Saturday and at the same time remove the temporary support from around the new step. After a late lunch E went out to do the shopping with her mum and I wrestled with my computer. I have been experiencing a problem with the Firefox browser during the last twenty-four hours in that it keeps stopping whenever I am on this site (Minkyweasel) but is ok otherwise. I have had to resort to using Chrome to write this in the meantime. Maybe it is an issue with WordPress. Whilst writing I got a call from an old lady living some miles away who wanted her kitchen fluorescent lights replacing but insisted on telling me the whole story about her escapades in trying to get replacement tubes which didn’t fit and about her local stockist and what they had told her. She didn’t stop there either and she began nattering on about things totally unrelated to her electrical problems. I could not get a word in edgewise for she just wouldn’t stop talking. I asked a few simply questions to ascertain what I would need if I went there to do the job and it took me about ten minutes to get a reply. I was glad I wasn’t paying for the call. Eventually she decided she would call me next week as it was her birthday and she didn’t know what her daughter had planned for her. What that had to do with the job I have no idea. I don’t expect she will ring again, especially after I had told her how much it would cost. I think she thinks we are still living in the 1960’s. About ten minutes later someone asked if I could wire his three-phase walk-in fridge for him. I straight away asked him if it was a commercial premises and knowing he would say yes he duly said so. I told him that I only take on small domestic jobs these days. My advertisement reads, DOMESTIC  ELECTRICAL SERVICES, small job specialist! Are they blind? A few years ago I would have taken on the work but no more, I am after all working part-time and I am semi-retired. In any case I do not have the necessary equipment I might need for such work as it may involve installing steel conduits and fittings. I have never owned such things even though I have worked in industrial situations many time in the past. I worked for companies who supplied the tools so didn’t need to have my own. Had I been free-lance from the beginning it would have been a different story, I would have had to purchase these things. Almost immediately after that call someone else called asking if I would wire his new boiler. It wasn’t however a simply case of connecting it to the mains but he wanted me to wire and connect pumps, zone valves, thermostats and controllers too. No thank you. Too involved, too time consuming and all for little remuneration. I can pick and choose so I do. The previous evening a lady called me to ask if I would work at the weekend for her and when she told me she worked full-time all week I replied, ‘So do I, that’s why I don’t work the weekends’. Aside from the fact she lived way outside my catchment area, I could tell by the Liverpool telephone number, I think she had a cheek asking. Why couldn’t she take time off to have work done?  The phone continued to ring all Thursday afternoon. Some of them were ‘cold’ calls and I was getting a little annoyed with being pestered by the telephone all the time. I just wanted to escape, I’d had enough for one day!

Shirley Anne

Nothing changes

I had a golden opportunity to do some work at home on Wednesday, not having any electrical work to do. I had paid a visit to the bank the previous day and made a deposit which left me with just enough spare cash to take E out to lunch. This time I had to do the driving because she was still in pain after the previous day’s incident. Anyway I had no further spare cash at my disposal and I wanted to mix some mortar and screed to continue with the small project I have going in the boiler room, constructing some steps. As it happened we did have some sand, grit, and granite chippings in the garage and cement in the boiler room to keep it dry so I was able to continue with the work. First of all I laid some bricks as part of an extra step I am constructing next to the existing steps which lead out into the garden. 37The space created will be filled in with hard-core material as before then cemented over but there is more work to be done to the existing steps too. Once that job was done I searched in the workshop room for something suitable for placing around the already constructed step leading into the room which I started on last week. I found an old fluorescent light fitting diffuser and cut it to length then placing it behind a couple of wood battens I had fixed to the wall to keep it in place together with some bricks and stones to prevent it springing out. I then mixed some screed using sand, grit and cement and filled in the space behind it to cover the face of the bricks I had laid when constructing the step. When that has set I can mix more screed to cover the rough concrete that forms the step which will also cover the screed I have just laid. Hopefully when the ‘diffuser’ is removed later all we will see is a smooth step! We’ll see……………










After E and I had cleaned the mixer and put it back in the garage I receive a call to do a small electrical job some ten miles away. I offered to do it the following morning but the guy insisted it be done immediately if it was possible as he couldn’t guarantee anyone being at home thereafter for a few days. I agreed to do it after I had eaten my lunch. I was glad I went along as he paid me more than I had asked and he and his wife were such pleasant people to work for. Not everyone is. It appeared she had ‘burnt’ her eyes by accidentally replacing her contact lenses which had been cleaned with a chemical she had forgotten to rinse off with water. She nearly lost her sight but the medical staff at the hospital assured her no permanent damage had been done. E was going to take her mum to the shops so that she could return a pair of shoes but she couldn’t leave the house because we were expecting the delivery of the battery I had bought for our son’s car. I didn’t get back home until three o’clock and apparently the battery had arrived twenty minutes prior. E still had the time to go to the shops with her mum albeit a little later than she had wanted. So another busy day for me but at least I had some spare cash to spend on the materials I will need for my projects. Speaking of projects, I haven’t forgotten the garden toilet project which has been on hold whilst I was waiting for that survey to be done. I wrote about this a few days ago. I will continue with that in due course.

Shirley Anne

It was inevitable

Spike is building his dream house peacefully, ...
Spike is building his dream house peacefully, before Tom and Jerry bring about its inevitable destruction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was always going to be inevitable that having constructed an extra step in the boiler room at one entrance that I would turn my attention to the other entrance leading out to the garden. As I write this on Monday afternoon I have as yet not completed the first step, that is applying a screed over the rough concrete base. I plan to do it tomorrow, Tuesday instead. There is a reason for that which I will explain. I had every intention of completing the step on Monday morning but first I had to search the Internet for a suitable replacement battery for the Lexus car my youngest son is trying to sell. He has decided to sell it by auction but it has to be in working order. He is struggling a bit financially so I told him I would get the battery and pay for it myself. Having found a supplier who will deliver it inclusive of tax and postage for £88 I informed my son for his approval. Just now I am awaiting his reply but I expect it will be alright. The next thing was that E took a turn for the worst and she was struggling to get downstairs because a severe pain in her back almost incapacitated her completely. She is already suffering with the early stages of Spina-Biffida which itself makes moving about awkward at times but this added problem was making things impossible. She was experiencing breathing difficulty and had a tingling sensation in her left arm. She made an appointment to see her doctor and I drove her to the surgery. The doctor put her mind at ease by telling her that the complaint was not serious, unpleasant as it was and that her strange feeling in her arm was due to too much oxygen in the blood. I take it by that she had hyper-ventilated with the pain. Whilst I was waiting to take her to the surgery I collected her washing from upstairs and put it in the machine down in the cellar, then it was time to go. We were away for over forty minutes and by the time we had returned it was almost time for lunch. It was after two o’clock before I was available to start work at home so I decided against it and deferred starting my project until the next day hoping I would have the time to do it then. Whilst I was in the cellar with E we talked about carrying out alterations to the steps which lead out into the garden because they too are awkward to negotiate, especially for E. The main problem with the steps are that the risers are too deep, that is the depth of the steps were made too high in the first place. To correct the steps leading out to the garden will necessitate the construction of an extra step and the alteration of an existing one to make walking in and out much easier. It sounds complicated perhaps but is in fact simple to do. We had a similar problem at the rear of one of the garages we have whereby the steps were all different making walking over them a challenge at times. E and I bought the cement mixer when we decided enough was enough and set about altering them last year. See picture we took at the time…………………Garage 2 works 1

So altering the internal steps will not be a problem. It is just setting and getting the time to do it as usual. I should have been a builder as well as an electrician! Strange as it may seem to some of my readers I actually love construction work, I always have and even if I say so myself, I am good at it. Nothing I ever made fell down afterward.

Shirley Anne

Bit of a mix

I have never used a mixer in the kitchen though we do have one. I have never had a reason to use one, always mixing by hand instead. I have the same attitude when it comes to washing dishes too, I always prefer to wash by hand though E generally sticks everything inside the dishwasher but not all of the time. Perhaps the reason I prefer doing things by hand is that it is only relatively recently in my lifetime that I bought a dishwasher. Probably two-thirds of my life has been spent without one. I also like having my hands in water! In my early years as an adult most all of the mixing I have done has been by hand but certain things done manually can be very exhausting aside from being time-consuming. When E and I talked about laying concrete some time ago when we decided to reconstruct the steps behind the garages and the need for a ramp behind one of them it meant that we would need a lot of concrete to do it all. When I was younger it wasn’t a problem to mix concrete or mortar by hand as I was then much fitter than I am now and could do much more in the time given. Not so these days though I can still do many things by hand. So it was we decided to buy a concrete mixer to mix the concrete to do the steps and the ramp and to mix the mortar for laying the bricks and paving slabs we worked on behind one of the garages last year. Mixer 2Over the last couple of days I have been constructing a large step to lessen the height of the existing step into the boiler room and yesterday, that is Friday, I filled the space within the brick containing wall with hard-core material ready for laying concrete on top. Today, Saturday, E and I dug out the concrete mixer from the garage and set about mixing the concrete. Once everything was set up it didn’t take long to mix the amount we needed, in fact one mixer-full was all it took and soon I had it laid over the hard-core. A few minutes later we were cleaning the mixer and returning it to the garage. The whole job took a mere forty minutes or so but would have taken much longer had I done it by hand and I would have been quite tired for a while after doing it! As I write this on Saturday evening all that needs to be done is to apply a smooth concrete screed to cover the rough layer of concrete we have laid and to cover the bricks containing it too. A bit like icing a cake only bigger! Mixing concrete or mortar is very much like preparing the mix for a cake. It is simply done with different materials that’s all but more of it. Whilst we were outside and clearing everything away I suggested we gather the leaves that had gathered around the back of the large greenhouse and the path we had built earlier in the year and there were plenty of them. We were joined by our friendly little red-breasted Robin who seemingly was waiting for the opportunity to eat whatever we had disturbed when clearing the leaves. Every year is the same, the price we pay for living near so many trees. Ideally we could do with a large vacuum cleaner though E tells me that the leaf ‘blower’ she won a couple of years ago (she’s always winning prizes) can be used to suck as well as blow. I somehow forgot she’d mentioned that.

Shirley Anne

Nothing to do?

I had Thursday all mapped out as free time for myself as I had no electrical work scheduled that day. I didn’t stop in bed however and was sitting having my breakfast well before nine o’clock. I spent a little time on my computer and around about ten o’clock there was someone at the front door ringing the bell. I went to see who it was and found that it was the men from the environment agency contractor come to survey our waste water systems and pipework. We had been expecting them to call a couple of weeks earlier but they told us there were thousands of properties in our area to survey/ They had called previously but we weren’t at home. I opened one of the garages to allow them access to the rear of the house and answered a couple of questions asked of me. Unfortunately I  then received a call to do a small electrical job, one of three jobs I was asked to do that morning. I made arrangements to do the other jobs a few days later but in the meantime just attended the one. I was back home an hour before lunch which for me is around one o’clock. E goes out on Thursday afternoons to do the weekly shopping with her mum so I was left at home alone once more. I couldn’t bear the boredom so I made inroads to building a step in the boiler room which we have been threatening to do for years but never seemed to get around to actually doing it. Here is a picture of the preliminary work I did…28 The existing white step is quite deep as the boiler room floor is sunk relative to all the other cellar room floors which are all at the same level. We have never understood why this should be so as it is an original floor and was laid many years before the house had central heating. The central heating boiler is in this room and I suppose if there was a major leak the sunken floor would act as a reservoir. I don’t think it was laid with that in mind. Anyhow I laid some bricks as you can see and once they have set I will fill in the resulting space behind them with hard-core and cement both of which we have plenty. By the time you read this that may well be done. I have spoken about re-lagging the central heating pipes of which there are many down in the cellar rooms. Here are a couple of pictures to show what we have done thus far, there being much more to do yet as we haven’t purchased the insulation to date. I explained about that in a previous post. I hope to purchase what we need shortly. It is all about the cost of course and disposable income.








The grey insulation is that which we have fitted, the black and any other coloured insulation is still to be replaced and of course there are one or two sections of bare pipes to lag too! The next-to-last picture shows the new heating pump supplying the heat for the water storage tank upstairs in the bathroom which I installed last week. You may also notice that the heating system is being controlled by a ‘Sangamo’ time switch on the extreme left of the picture, a mechanical device which is very reliable. I have left it in circuit quite deliberately for that reason. Electronic controls are far less reliable and in fact are not necessary for the type of installation we have. On the left-hand-side out of sight in this same picture is the central heating pump. Compare picture number five with the last picture and see how the old insulation around the pipes has been vastly improved. Picture number four shows the continuation of the same pipes in picture number two from the boiler room to the laundry room (the one with the freezers in it!). Slowly things are improving in the cellar rooms and now that we have had the survey I can decide what alterations I need to undertake if any with the drain pipes. That is for the future though.

Shirley Anne

Now it’s Wednesday

English: TV and mobile phone mast on Torlum Hill
TV and mobile phone mast on Torlum Hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Late last night I discovered I had received a text message on my mobile phone earlier in the day but had not noticed. It is often the case that I miss calls or texts during the day either because I don’t hear the phone or more likely I am in an area where my phone is shielded from the transmission signals. Whatever the reason I miss the calls. This particular message was from a young lady who had called me on Sunday because her power circuit kept tripping off. I explained to her over the phone what she should do to re-instate the system and that if she still had the problem I would call round to assist, for a fee of course! Evidently she had managed to reset everything because she didn’t call back that evening. The message stated that she had in fact had a recurrence of the problem on Tuesday afternoon and had tried to contact me but failed. She therefore left the message. As it was 11.30 at night I simply replied to the message indicating that I could be there in the morning, that is Wednesday as I write this. I arose a little later than I usually do and on checking my phone for any messages or missed calls I discovered she had replied saying that her sister had found someone else to check out the fault but she thanked me anyway for replying. You get some and you miss some. As it happened I was glad in a way that I didn’t have to do the job because I had intended to do some more pipe lagging at home if I had the time. After a very small breakfast of yoghurt and fruit E asked if I could give her the electric mouse trap I had constructed some months ago as her mum had been having rodent problems at home. I explained that it needed some modifications before I could let her take it away so I took some time doing that before starting on the insulation. Both E and I then set about doing what lagging we could in the boiler room with what was left of the insulation. Unfortunately we couldn’t do all of the pipes in there as we would have liked because we needed at least twenty more metre lengths of the insulation, half of which needed to be a size larger to cover those pipes in there which are greater in size. We will also need at least one more box of the same sized insulation we have just used up. I know this will cost me probably another £150 at least as the first box cost more than £100 for the 48 one-metre lengths of insulation it contained. By the time we had finished and cleaned up it was approaching 1.30 so we had a late lunch and watched TV for an hour. I took the rest of the day off from work. My phone rang a couple of times with requests for estimates for electrical work but I turned down the jobs knowing that they would be too much for me to take on. It is a matter of what I could expect in payment for the time I would have to put in. It just isn’t worth the effort. I can afford to be selective and can earn quite a substantial amount for very little effort only working a couple of hours each day leaving me plenty of time for myself and my own projects at home. I can only do this because I have income from my pensions. I no longer have to slog my guts out to earn extra income which is nice. I can sit here with my cup of coffee writing this stuff on my computer on a lazy Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile E is visiting her mum taking the mouse trap with her.

Shirley Anne


There if I want it

I've Got That Old Feeling
I’ve Got That Old Feeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been feeling so much better today, Saturday, than I have felt all week. It looks like I’ve shaken off whatever it was that ailed me. Now I usually do not work in my capacity as an electrician over the weekend but it hasn’t stopped people calling me to do jobs for them. One call I got was from a middle-aged man who explained that he couldn’t do work that entailed working with his hands, DIY projects and such things as in his own words he was useless. He asked tentatively if I could fit a wall bracket together with the television on his kitchen wall. A straightforward job that only required a drill and some hand tools and would probably take a half-hour or so. I said I would do it for him as he lives less than two miles away from me and I could be back home within the hour. I was back home an hour and ten minutes later with some extra cash in my purse! I wanted to replace some more pipe lagging at home so after lunch I set about doing that. E had gone out for the afternoon and our youngest son who had come over for the weekend had also gone out. I like it when I am left alone to get on with things because I work faster that way. The pipes I wanted to recover I succeeded in doing but what a mess to clean up afterwards! The old insulation was so fragile it crumbled as soon as it was touched and it got everywhere. Whilst it was on the pipes it wasn’t a problem and it did provide a decent level of insulation but it really did want replacing. There is still much left to do but gradually the pipes are beginning to look much better. I may decide to splash out and redo all the pipes, not because all the insulation needs replacing, though much of it does, but it will be better all round if I do it anyway. Whilst I was in the cellar working I received several requests for my services, some even asking if I could work for them that day. Like I said, I don’t work weekends! I have taken on some of the work for the week ahead. The work is there if I want it. Must be approaching Christmas! I am now finished for this week both working for others or for myself at home. Tomorrow is Sunday and I shall be doing nothing whatsoever unless it can be done sitting down on the settee.

Shirley Anne

Lagging behind?

English: Copper pipes with and without insulat...
Copper pipes with and without insulation, above ceiling tile.

A few weeks ago I purchased a box of insulation material with which to re-lag as much of the pipework in the cellar, most of which is suspended from the ceiling or near to the ceiling but on the walls. I haven’t had the time to use it since then until now. The box contained 48 lengths of pipe lagging each one metre in length which would be enough to re-lag that part of the insulation that was practically falling off through deterioration. Last year I managed to replace much of the old insulation with some lagging I had acquired years ago that I had stored away for use in the future. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough to do every pipe in the cellar so I had to purchase some. I did want to purchase two boxes and replace everything but one box alone cost me over £100 and at the time I couldn’t afford to buy two. I usually use my disposable income when buying things for the home but I had spent quite a lot during the weeks prior. Anyway I was at a bit of a loose end on Wednesday having no scheduled electrical work so I asked E if she wanted to assist me in fitting some new pipe insulation in the room we call the laundry though there are three chest freezers in there besides the washing machine! The circulation pipes which heat the water cylinder in the bathroom run through that room on the ceiling and two other pipes associated with and part of the central heating system also run through the room at ceiling height. All the insulation on these pipes required replacing. The hardest part in some places was that of removing the old insulation but fitting the new insulation was difficult in places as the pipes are located too close to one another. We spent about two and a half hours before the job was done but that is only one room, five other rooms need attention, two of them have a lot of pipes to re-lag and three not as much. This is one of those jobs that always seem to take a back seat in the pecking order of jobs to be done with me but when E is there to help we get them out-of-the-way. After we had finished what needed to be done in that room I gave the carpet a treat and vacuumed it! It isn’t often the carpets in the cellar get vacuumed. Only two rooms and the hallway down there are carpeted. The boiler room and the workshop room have bare floors. We will get around to re-lagging the rest of the pipes in the next couple of weeks, time permitting, though I may have to purchase another box first.

Shirley Anne

Plans, plumbs and applecarts

I am at another low ebb as I write this on Thursday late in the afternoon. E is out doing the weekly shop and I have just finished cleaning my dishes after having a very late lunch of poached fish and fried tomatoes. To be perfectly truthful I don’t much fancy doing anything though I know I could be or perhaps should be. I cannot make up my mind most of the time. I arose a tad later than usual this morning but was still downstairs around 9 o’clock to eat a small bowl of porridge in which I put sultanas, topping it off with blueberries floating in the milk. Strange I know but healthy and for me anyway, tasty. Since purchasing those plumbing materials yesterday my immediate thoughts turned to using them and when! Sometimes I am reluctant to start jobs thinking to myself that there might be a problem of one sort or another and I’ll end up making a mess of it. I don’t know why I think like that as it is symptomatic of someone lacking confidence, something I have in abundance when it comes to tackling most things. I thought to myself which part do I get to grips with first, this part or that part and if I do that part, which is more involved and may tie me down? Irrational thinking as in this case in particular it doesn’t matter! Now that we have three places in which we can wash, bath and use the toilet I could make a start on either project. I am referring to the alterations to our main soil and waste-water pipes I have talked about in the two previous posts. As it happens if I were to work on one pipe system we would have one bathroom still available for use but if I were to start on the other pipe system we would still have two bathrooms that we could use. What difference would it make? None. In the event I decided to make a start on the pipe nearest the garage which serves the wet room and an upstairs en-suite bathroom. The main part of the job was to replace the two metre high cast iron pipe with a plastic equivalent (see first picture). Only two drain pipes connected with it, the soil pipe from the wet room toilet pan and the pipe from the maceration unit in  the en-suite room. The waste from the wet room sink and wet floor drain would be diverted and connected to the new pipe once it was in. So I had to first of all disconnect the pipe from the en-suite then dig out the cement seal around the base of the cast iron pipe. Separating the wet room toilet pan waste pipe from the cast iron pipe I gently lifted it out of the ground to reveal the earthenware pipe it was seated within. A few minutes later I had the plastic replacement pipe in the hole and the toilet reconnected (see second picture). I then cemented around the base leaving the wet room facilities available to use once more.Cast iron pipeNew pipe At this moment I have yet to replace the en-suite pipe and redirect the water drain from the wet room to connect with the new pipe but that requires the pipe to be drilled and connecting collars to be fitted. At least the main part is completed and all without any hang-ups. I wonder why I lack faith in my capabilities when I know I am perfectly able. My plans are now set in stone, I know what I have to do next and I shall do it. Isn’t it sometime the way that when things are seemingly going the way you want something comes along to upset the apple cart? As my readers will know I have a couple of projects to do at home, two of which I have made inroads upon but this plumbing project now has to take precedence and that is eating away at funds I had set aside for the other work. I am not doing any electrical work for the next week or so which means income from that quarter has stopped too. I want to get on with things, the things I want to get on with rather than those that have been put upon me recently. I reached that point today where I ignored the calls to me mobile phone and the text messages too. When I checked them later I discovered one call was from my neighbour probably asking me to do a job for her and the other messages were from my mobile phone service provider asking me silly questions about their website. Mobile phones can be just too convenient and just as irritating when you are busy. No doubt I will be doing more work on the latest project tomorrow, unless something else crops up!

Shirley Anne