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.
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.
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.
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. 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!
I suppose that could be true of the working week in most people’s circumstances. For myself it would be Saturday night. My week started without any scheduled electrical work other than one small job on Thursday morning and I thought that would mean I might not get anymore before the week was out but that was a mistake. I received several requests for work and did them. That however prevented me from continuing with my home projects at least on Thursday and Friday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday all remained free from requests for electrical work and enabled me to work at home. I can only do so much before I will need the services of a builder for unless I can arrange for a new doorway to be cut into the outside wall the work on the new toilet room will grind to a halt. On Friday I decided to dine out at my local pub (alone as E and I are still not talking, another story) thinking I might catch one or two friends and put feelers out for a reliable and trustworthy builder. Many of my acquaintances are in the building trade in one way or another but alas no-one turned up. maybe that was because it was too early in the day, though it was after 1.30, a time when traditionally saw many of them in there. Perhaps they were too busy or perhaps times have simply changed and so have their habits? Nah! No way! When the time comes I shall endeavour to call in there later in the day and try again. That is unless E’s nephew gets his finger out to give me that quote I asked of him months ago. I sometimes forget that I only work part-time in my profession and my own working week in that capacity can finish at any time. One way or another the work will get done and there are things I can and will do in the meantime. I just wish that those I ask and those who say they are interested were actually true to their word. One thing I am often told when I turn up on people’s doorsteps to work for them is that I am reliable so it annoys me that not everyone is the same and they let me down. Perhaps they are inundated with work so much so that they haven’t the time to get around to my request yet I wonder if that is true in light of the fact that work in the building industry is supposed to be at a low ebb at this moment. Looks like I could be wrong. All in a working girl’s week I suppose.
I had plans this summer to get the ‘garden toilet‘ project underway but it looks like it will be a non starter for a least a few months at the minimum unless something changes. For those who don’t know about our proposals regarding the toilet there are posts about it earlier in the season. Our youngest son and his girlfriend have hopefully secured the purchase of the house they were after buying after some further negotiations with the seller. Work needs to be done on the house soon after they gain possession as a condition of the mortgage supplier. As this work involves the services of a builder/bricklayer they have asked E’s nephew to undertake the repairs as he is qualified. He has his own small building business. E and I had already asked him some weeks ago to give us an estimate for that part of our toilet project which requires a professional builder. Obviously our son’s needs will come first so our project will have to remain on hold though I am capable of doing some of the brickwork and may do so if I get bored! At the moment we are more concerned with getting the corner of the garden sorted and that will take us a few more weeks yet no doubt. There are a couple of smaller outdoor projects in the pipeline over the next couple of weeks but I will talk about them as and when I do them. As I write this on Sunday afternoon E and I have made some more progress on the pathway we have been constructing where the ‘mound’ once stood. Yes, we can say once stood now as most of the ground has been dug out of all the building rubbish though some still remains. E has gone out for the day to the National Exhibition Centre down in the Midlands with a few friends and I have remained at home. Our youngest son has been spending each weekend here for a few weeks whilst he is waiting on finalising his house purchase but he doesn’t stop indoors long! That means I have been home alone all day with very little to do. I started the day by going on a bike ride along the sea front and discovered that the main traffic route along the coast had been closed to vehicular traffic for a few hours in order to accommodate a cycling event. Hundreds of racing bike enthusiasts were out for the morning on what I assumed to be a race of some sort. I was overtaken at speed many times as I plodded along but I wasn’t using the road, I was on the cycle track which isn’t suitable for racing. I felt tired just looking at them racing by! I didn’t go far and was home after an hour.